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/ 2,568 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,568 |  Reviews: 699
Photo of woodychandler
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I do not remember the whole story, but PA (Philadelphia & its neighbors) is the only place that gets Central Waters BC distro outside of Wisco & it is due to a friendship on the part of the owner/brewer. I have met him on a couple of occasions during PHL Beer Week & I always feel a twinge of excitement when I see his beers on the shelf.

From the bottle: "

This was also a 2016 bottle, but it may have had enough age on it to begin to collect lees, so I employed a gentle pour. Once sufficiently decanted, I performed a vigorous in-glass swirl to raise a brief finger of deep-tan/light-brown head that seemed anxious to fall back to wisps. Hey, pal, we all have better things to do & places to be! Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) with ruby highlights. Nose smelled like Duty Day morning coffee. An old, inveterate alcoholic RM1 taught me how to sneak a small flask in on Friday or Saturday night for Saturday or Sunday morning duty & it was always a welcome part of breakfast. Oaky, the beer smelled of VERY strong coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, vanilla & bourbon. Oh my. Mouthfeel was medium, but on the thin side for this style. I was unimpressed with this aspect of the beer. The taste was ... Holy Hot, Batman! Jeez, I may drinking this too young! It was burning a hole in my tongue until I worked up the courage to swallow it down. Phew! I could easily see at least another year of aging on this one at this point. The taste was riotous, with coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, smoke & fusel alcohol all coming to the fore. Whee! Oh my. I could really fall in love with this beer to the point of elopement. I may have been young, but it knew what it was doing. Mmm, baby, I think I love you, but I wanna know for sure. Wild thing! Finish was hot & dry, but again, I think that some aging will lead to smoothing out of the rough edges. I am going to rate in some nebulous way that should be disregarded in favor of the actual review. It was a decent beer, but with time, it has the potential to become a fantastic beer.

 2,027 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thick dark brown liquid, essentially black with no light penetration what so ever. Rich deep, and thick chocolate colored lace then formed on the top of it to a height of around two inches

rich and sweet, the first notes to hit me were a nice sweet milk chocolate, lactose, and a nice burnt caramel aroma. Very sweet, with hints of coffee throughout. A nice mixture of roasted malts, and not overly heavy. Rich milk chocolate, molasses and vanilla hints were the first right out of the gate. Very sweet with lots of lactose sugar like flavors coming in, probably from the oatmeal. A slight warming on the back of the throat, but other then that there was literally no hint of the alcohol what so ever. Really a fine quality stout here. Nice dry touches in the finish capped it off well and left a long lingering sweet coffee like taste in the mouth. Very well done indeed. nice light bourbon on the finish and it was gone

It was a nice full-bodied stout, though nowhere near as filling as some of the others can be

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Photo of Slatetank
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve bourbon barrel aged stout
Original rating Appearance -3.75 Smell -4 Taste -4 Feel 4 Overall -4
March 3 2015

Re-review 2013 bottle enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color is almost black with opaque clarity and thin biege head with tiny compact beads with lace wavy w/ very good retention. The smell is excellent with bourbon domiance and woody scent with vanilla from the barrel mixed with dark toffee and mild cocoa perhaps with a smidge of coconut and light alcohol. The feel is medium high in carbonation with medium sweetness and woody texture with moderate alcohol warmth for the listed strength with relatively dry and spicy finish.

The taste is excellent with toasted malt and bourbon with some stone fruit from yeast with slight woody tannin. There is an almost blackberry or plum-type taste as it warms with chocolate covered caramel flavor and slight nutty vanilla-like influence with bourbon taste that augments the grain base with dark toast and chocolate truffle element with some sweet wood in the flavor and light smoke accent in the semi-dry finish yet still manages to retain a light alcohol flavor at almost 2 years old. This is a WOW! I had this beer about 365 days ago and it has really developed into a great example of what can happen when you age a beer of this style. I consider this one of the best barrel aged stouts I have had recently -lots of bourbon and malt with the 'green' quality all but gone it has morphed into a rich bourbon and stout dessert-like prize.

 1,529 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my New Belgium globe. Received in the Birthday BIF thanks to zimmerbloke; thanks Matt!

a - Pours a pretty deeo mahogany brown color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. An inch od creamy tan head lasts throughout drinking the beer and leaves a little lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, roasted malts, toasted malts, vanilla, toffee, and caramel malts. Wow, I was surprised how complex and great this one smelled. I expected the bourbon up front, but I didn't expect so much going on. The bourbon doesn't dominate the nose at all; this one smells amazing.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee, roasted malts, and vanilla. While I liked the taste a lot, it seemed a tiny bit light in some flavors, almost slightly watered down. Good, but a definite step down from the great nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. The body is super smooth and creamy, and goes down very easy. Not hot at all, and a bit later than I was ecpecting for a barrel aged stout.

d - Overall I really liked this beer. I found the nose amazing and complex; everytime I took a sniff I got something different and equally good. The taste was good, but a little bit of a let down after the nose, but for 9.5%, it was very drinkable. Glad I have another bottle of this one and might have to try and get more.

 1,382 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -8%
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.

 1,089 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2010 release courtesy of Mark. Thanks!

A: The beer pours a dark, dark brown with a thin layer of tan colored head.

S: Big time bourbon with lots of wood to it. Moderate roast character and some nice dark chocolate and hints of dark fruits. Only a mild vanilla character with perhaps even a bit of licorice.

T: Dark chocolate and bourbon dominate up front. A very strong wood flavor and some dark fruit and licorice. Molasses and toffee provide an additional sweetness. Mildly warm/alcoholic, but nothing unpleasant.

M: Medium in body with a medium but smooth carbonation.

O: Perhaps not quite as good as the bourbon barleywine, but still solid, like almost all Central Waters beers.

 703 characters

Photo of Zaphog
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -12%
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 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.

 932 characters

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

 271 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 758 characters

Photo of dfhhead25
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of stakem
3.46/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

 1,227 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of krome
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of dvmin98
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rolltide8425
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94.4% out of 100 with 2,568 ratings
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