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
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
645
Ratings:
2,356
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
9.09%
 
 
Wants:
426
Gots:
791
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 645 | Ratings: 2,356
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark brown with a flimsy beige head. The aroma brings bourbon, malt, brown bread, butterscotch, chocolate, oak, booze. Similar flavor with a delicate, silky feel on the palate. Light touch of butter. Rich and robust. A hint of oak in the finish. Really tasty.

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Photo of stakem
3.46/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a tulip. A rough pour down the middle of the glass yields a dark brown to black brew with slightly less than a finger of khaki head. The cap fades quick leaving some patchy lace on the glass.

The aroma has a strong vanilla scent that is almost beyond natural smelling and somewhat perfume-like to artificial in nature. A bit of bourbon is present accenting the alcohol burn in the nostrils. Some raw tannic wood along with roast and earthen aspects breaks up the vanilla essence.

The taste is primarily boozy with a hint of bourbon and raisony to prune-like alcohol aspect. The dark fruit aspect gives way to some roast, earth and raw wood. Unfortunately, just like the aroma, it is somewhat overkill with vanilla that seemingly goes beyond what one might expect in a natural sense. The base stout here gets somewhat lost behind what feels like a cheap sort of flavored spirit addition.

This is medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is boozy and enjoyable but I think there are better barrel aged stouts out there with a little more complexity and body. Not to say this isnt enjoyable, because it is but I would not rush out to buy lots of this. Certainly worth a try though.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Bottled December 2010.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown body with a nice head that just fits in the glass. Settles slowly. Not as black as I'd like a stout to be.

Smell - Bourbon and lots of oak. Vanilla comes through with the chocolate from the stout. Tons of vanilla, really. Not the best barreling and not a ton of the stout comes through.

Taste - Bourbon and oodles of vanilla again. Oaky immediately with a more-than-healthy bitterness. The bitterness combines with some astringency from the oak to cover up a lot of the creaminess I was hoping to get. Chocolate, sure, but it's all blending with this harshness that's really holding this back.

Mouthfeel - Thin and astringent. Well carbonated. Maybe too much. I'm looking for something creamier and chewier to back up the barrel, but the stout isn't holding up well enough.

Overall - Bourbon is still delicious, even if the stout doesn't seem to be able to take it. I imagine this base stout would be rather mediocre and the bourbon is making it taste better than it really is.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, black, black, nothing but deep darkness from out of this bottle, with a nice espresso-tinged brown layer of foam, settling into a nice, tight rings, which never quits, just hangs in there.
Aroma, in just one word? Wow! impressive! Thick, huge, pervasive alcoholic aroma, vast, expansive, heady, full of rich whiskey notes, dark flavors, coffee, brandy, licorice.
big presence in the mouth, too, big in alcohol, as well, a flush with flavors of chocolate, dark rum, molasses, spices. Ful bodied, but thins out some in the middle, becoming not quite so much of the powerhouse that we like from our IS's, though the bourbon character is prevalent throughout and really is the key to the enjoyment of this terrific stout. Has a true luxurious feel from that flavor, a real beastly, though well-mannered, presence in the mouth, with a rich, boozy kick on the lips with every sip!
I'd like to go back to another bottle of this one, for sure! Thanks go surely to that sweetheart cokes, and I nod, too, to drinkin' buddy tavernjef in whose company I reveled in this fine stout.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage Received in trade from JoeyBeerBelly, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black color without much of a head, just spotty bubbles. This smells great! Subtle vanilla and oak barrel notes meld nicely with a lightly roasted caramel and chocolate base. It shouldn't be there, but I swear I'm getting peanut butter on the nose. Bits of bourbon round it all out quite nicely. Taste is roasty and chocolate up front that slowly fades to vanilla and oak. Mild bourbon comes in and lingers with some caramel and chocolate long after each sip. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a slick sweet mouthfeel. Great Stout, and it smells wonderful. Could use a bit more roast and a few more bubbles, but I don't mind it a bit as is.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up in WI on a recent trip. Shared with the wife in FOBAB mini-pint glasses.

A - One finger of quick-dissipating mocha foam and negligible lace. Dark brown - one shade away from black.

S - Bourbon, wood, sweet caramel, roasty malts, vanilla. There's also hints of dark chocolate and coffee. Very intense smell - intensely delicious that is!

T - Sweet and roasty malt barley with a touch of vanilla. The bourbon/wood pushed is further in the background, but really shows up in the aftertaste. There's also a bready quality to the taste that wasn't apparent in the smell.

M - Lighter and more carbonated than I expected. The carbonation complements the whiskey tingle, but the mismatch in viscosity and flavor bothered me a little. Good residual stickiness.

D - Definitely too boozy for sessions, but it's easy to drink a 12oz bottle or two. The aftertaste and residual mouth-coating are also pretty intense.

Eerily reminiscent of Bourbon County Stout, but not quite as huge.

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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 Billolick
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32 ounce growler filled at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pour near black, minimal dark mocha head/thick film, leaves a lasting collar and low, slippery and ringed bits of lace.

Nose of bourbon, chocolate , and vanilla.

Full flavor, waves of dark chocolate, vanilla and heavy bourbon. Delicious, with the strong alcohol obviously present but somewhat muted for the strength.

Moderate body and enjoyably smooth mouth feel.

World class sipper, happy to be able to enjoy it on tap, via my growler.

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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 TheSevenDuffs
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown with one finger of light brown head that very quickly disappeared. Expected this one to be darker.

S - Very sweet at first. After a few smells the sweetness settles down and is replaced by a very noticeable bourbon flavour that seems to be the perfect strength. Some vanilla and oak come through as well.

T - Bourbon dominates the palate with some light vanilla and oak coming through as well. Not much else is evident in the palate, making this stout somewhat one-dimensional. That said, the bourbon flavour is in a good overall strength in this beer and it has a good overall taste. Maybe some age will bring out some of the other flavours.

M - Medium body, lightly carbonated.

D - A good beer but somewhat one-dimensional.

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Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this back to back with the bourbon barrel cherry stout. There isn't much stout coming through over the bourbon, though more than in the cherry stout. And although the bourbon element is pretty nice, the overall beer isn't as rich as you'd expect from a double stout. There's a mellower, chocolatey, maybe Russian imperial stout taste, while the aroma is of wood and whiskey. Also reminds me a bit of Magic Hat's Chaotic Chemistry in that the whiskey dominates.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

2010 vintage. The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is awesome with chocolate, oak, bourbon, vanilla and alcohol. The flavor is just as good. I get notes of bourbon and oak as well as coffee and a lot of milk chocolate. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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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 SadMachine
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage into Teku

A- Pours black with dark brown hues on the edges with a small tan head that recedes quickly, leaving no lacing.

S- The aroma is primarily of sweet dark fruits, vanilla, and bourbon. Prunes and figs are extremely prevalent, as well as molasses, some caramel, and a hint of booze.

T- The flavor is mostly of dark malt, charred oak, and some of the dark fruits and vanilla found in the nose. This is tasty, but a little disappointing considering I had heard great things.

M- The mouthfeel is a bit thin for a BA stout, pretty carbonated, and a bit of booze.

O- Overall this is a solid, but unspectacular BA stout. With how good their BA barleywine was I was expecting more. Hopefully the 2011 vintage I have has improved with age.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to beerwolf77 for this brew.
2010 Edition
Bottled: Jan
Revisted: 7 Nov 10

DAMN! This is one tasty brew.

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy/fizzy tan head, some islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is big on roasted malts, oak/bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate/toffee. The taste is simply delicious, it hits you right in the face with a big bourbon/malt/chocolate/toffee notes, with some really nice vanilla sweetness. The warmth from the alcohol comes in next, and leaves the tummy nice and warm. Full body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, MAN! I wish this was available in Utah. One of the best brews I've had to date, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thanks to autumnaldave for this brew.

DAMN! This is one tasty brew.

Poured into a tulip a black color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, some islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is big on roasted malts, oak/bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate/toffee. The taste is simply delicious, it hits you right in the face with a big bourbon/malt/chocolate/toffee, with some really nice vanilla sweetness. The warmth from the alcohol comes in next, and leaves the tummy nice and warm. Full body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, MAN! I wish this was available in Utah. One of the best brews I've had to date, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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

In a Tulip at a bar.

Bourbon Barrel Stout pours a jet black color that is underneatrh a nice half inch of dark brown coffee colored foam that leaves no stick. Smell is vanilla under some bourbon, oak, chocolate, cocco. The bourbon is not a killer but a nice strong contender. Not the most pungent smell, alcohol is there but a afterthought. Taste is bourbon mixed with vanilla and some roasted malt giving off a slight bitter vibe. Some cocco or it could be chocolate. The base beer picked up some nice bourbon tones, not to heavy but enough to taste the spirit. I don't really pick up any alcohol. Feel is smooth and above medium with a light but useful carb keeping things in check. I could and probably will drink a shit ton of this in the upcoming weeks.

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Photo of aasher
3.27/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I received this bottle in a recent in person trade with TallPaul07. Thanks again for this one Paul!

It pours a medium bodied dark, dark brown with a slight beige lacing around my glass. The nose consists of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and a lot of toffee. The flavors are of bourbon, slight aluminum, vanilla, and it finishes pretty quickly and a little watery. The metallic taste threw me off a bit. Maybe this bottle isn't up to par? The body is a little light for an imperial stout and it leaves an aftertaste as if it had too much CO2. Strange. It's drinkable all things considered but I prefer a more resonating flavor and fuller body in my stouts.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark amber-brown color that is approaching black, but not as close as one would expect from a typical Imperial Stout. The head is frothy, light brown color that quickly disappears from an initial one and a half finger thick head. The aroma is nice with notes of buttery oak and vanillin. The buttery note almost makes the aroma seem creamy in some way. The aroma is also a bit hot, with notes of higher alcohols, a bit of astringent oak and something like that bourbon form the barrel. There is also something here that seems a bit like musty scrambled eggs.

The beer is light up front, with a bit of richness that starts to come into play in the middle of the beer. The oak is definitely here, though not so much that it is too distracting. Buttery oak leads to a light tannic oak note that has a nice light, lingeringly astringent note that is a mix of bourbon and the barrel. This beer has a nice roast character to it that is noticeable, though perhaps not as much as I would like. Notes of espresso, dark chocolate, and chalky roast grain are noticeable underneath the oak character.

This is actually much better tasting than I would expect from this mix of flavors. The oak is just light enough that it is pleasant and not too intruding. All of the notes in this beer are on an incredibly subtle level, if only for an Imperial Stout. I think that it is the subtlety of this beer that makes it work. The flavors meld quite well, with none being so dominating as to drown out the other flavors or be objectionable in and of themselves.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another 12oz tonight received in trade from NFLMVP... and another thanks to Steve for hooking an Idaho BA up properly... poured into my New Belgium snifter... not sure of the vintage, but the trade was from 12/08.

3/4" head dies pretty quick.. only splotchy lacing atop a very very dark brown/but not black brew..

Nose is chocolate and coffee spiked with a small amount of bourbon.. vanilla and dark fruits are fairly abundant..

Flavor is on the light side for a bigger stout.. more fruitiness than the expected dark malts.. I think a bigger body would help my overall review.. the taste is vanilla with sorta boozy soaked dried cherries and raisins.. maybe some fig.. lite chocolate and coffee.. bourbon finish is lending toward the cherry essence.. nice but I may be not appreciating the overall package.. as it warms.. the wood shows up as a sorta drying tannic finish.. better balanced when warmer than cool.

The body is on the lite side for the style for sure.. yet the carbonation is about right... a sorta slick mouthfeel is coating but not full..

I remember liking this one alot more.. that said, it is still pretty nice.. I just want a little bit more "stout" flavors... Thanks again to NFLMVP.. I appreciate it.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark oily brown with a brown head. Lacing is left behind but the bulk of the head does die down to a ring. Good clarity for such a dark beer, or shall I say there is no haze or sediment.

Aroma has malty cocoa, toffee and of course big time boozy bourbon. Vanilla comes to mind as does dark chocolate and smores.

Lots of malty bourbon in the flavor, oak is big and the blended barrel notes carry the right flavor across. Dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and slight dark roast coffee. Good flavor from just a stout and bourbon barrel, no need for additives here.

Full bodied, smooth syrupy feel. Flavor sticks with you. Overall, this was a very good example of the style, and one worth getting. Highlights the bourbon well without it overpowering the base beer at all.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz 2010 bottle poured into a snifter

Dark brown, near black color, vigorous pour produces a quickly fading thin tan head that settles into a crown with little lacing. Aroma is sweet and boozy, strong influence from the bourbon. Vanilla and roasted malt. Body is thinner than expected with low-medium carbonation and a strong boozy lingering finish. Flavor is very heavy on the barrel aged notes, strong vanilla and bourbon making it difficult to pick up the original beer. Some dark fruits are noticeable, but overall lacking in balance and complexity, drinks much rougher than the 9.5 abv suggests.

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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 biegaman
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to a generous trader - nflmvp - for this delicious Wisconsin treat of barrel aged brewers reserve Imperial goodness!

12oz bottle, pours out of the bottle with burning hot, fiery ruby red highlights and generated a swirl of tan gray bubbles that continued to circle the glass as they fared thinner and thinner, until eventually settling only as bold outline. The body is completely opaque with a chalky black appearance. The body displays a marble or stone like chalkiness, very handsome.

A delicious - and simply seductive - aroma which carries a huge bourbon character, boasting notes of oak, amaretto, vanilla, chocolate mousse, and akin to dark rich truffles. Especially near the end, and on a hard swirl, the presence of chocolate was intense. Very intense. It holds nearly all the "hotness" of a bourbon (with some of the 9,5% evident) and correspondingly - all the complexities too. Absolutely seductive!

Rich and silky mouthfeel with the alcohol presence mellowing out what is still a high level of roast. No doubt the barrels aging also helped, lending the flavours notes of French vanilla and oak. The mouthfeel has an almost shy level of roast - more like a toasty malt. A very light bitterness that rings out the finish although the flavours don't seem to last quite as long as I'd like them too. There is a great malt base, with deep roast but it is so mellowed out that it could almost go unnoticed.

This is almost overwhelmingly ALL bourbon in its character - more bourbon than beer almost. Also tasted are flavours of anise, roasted oats, and especially hazelnut - although I find much of the nuances in the aroma seem a little lost in the taste. All said and done this is delicious. Thanks Steve, this was greatly enjoyed on a rainy, Sunday afternoon.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to Garret L. for the opportunity to try this one.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and plenty of creamy foam and lacing. The nose is likewise attractive in this one, as I pick up considerale milk dud, milk chocolate, vanilla and light coffee. There's a hint of bourbon as well, but the milk chocolate and milk dud aroma really dominates in this one. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this well crafted stout. It's a bit on the sweet side from all the milk chocolate and vanilla flavor, but there's enough hoppy bitterness at the very end to keep that sweetness in check, and to keep it from coming across as cloying. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a fairly long, slightly creamy finish. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, and I had no trouble at all downing my 12 ounce bottle.

A very nice effort from the folks at Central Waters.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown verging on black. Smallish tan head, fair retention, a bit of spotty lacing. Nose is very bourbon-forward, touches of chocolate, roastiness, and oak. Maybe a hint of anise as well.

Taste is nice enough. Again there’s a good deal of barrel flavor and bourbon, trace vanilla, and the more expected bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and roast malt. Little in the way of hops or sweetness. A bit of booziness but nothing too hot overall.

Body is thinner than I’d have liked, sort of medium at best, without a lot of smoothness or chewiness. The mouthfeel was a bit lacking overall. Carbonation was medium. Creamy, but not enough for my tastes.

This is a decent enough beer and is exceptionally well-priced for a bourbon-barrel imperial stout. I also really like the fact that it came in a 12 ounce bottle. But I don’t know that I would buy it again, it’s just not all that outstanding. I don’t have to have the bourbon barrel all the time…gimme a Ten Fidy over this any day.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 645 ratings.
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