Black Gold
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Black GoldBlack Gold
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #24
Ranked #97
4.57 | pDev: 6.78%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Black GoldBlack Gold
Notes: In 2012 we entered '1414' in The Great American Beer Festival's Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout Category. Awarded the GABF's Gold Medal, we saved some, aged it for 35 months in 25 year-old oak bourbon barrels. Truly one of a kind.
Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 810 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Wayne17
4.47/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage. Central waters just doesn’t disappoint with the stouts. Fantastic medium thick creamy body, great head retention. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla and whiskey on the nose. Whiskey soaked chocolate cake flavor. Tip tier stuff all around.

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Photo of Sandis
4.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter at home. Not sure what year this bottle is since they are not marked. Not the thickest stout around. Solid non adjunct stout with some booze kick to it. Not too sweet.

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Photo of pants678
3.96/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black without foam.


Alcohol flavor is a plus. No roast or char, plenty of wood/barrel. Reads as an old ale more than a stout.

Not that thick, hot finish though and bitter is a knock.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.69/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap. Void of nothingness black with a brown head. Sweeter nose than I was expecting: maple, chocolate, vanilla with contrasting powerful oak, robust malts, coffee grounds, char, and lingering licorice and earth. Taste leans much more on the robust elements, but has great melding of the flavors from the smell in a foreboding way. Massive and complex. Body is full and chewy, but not overly heavy, great wood textures and smoky earthiness within the booze. Well worth the search, an amazing stout that does not need adjuncts to thrill

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet; meaty nose; cola, birch beer, A1 steak sauce, a thread of vanilla, hints of Bounty; bitter + chewy.

4 4 4.25 4 4.25

Too much licorice. Another bottle that may have been held onto for too long: the peaks of chocolate around the savoury notes hint at another beer. Still, given the reputation, disappointing.

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Photo of Mar02x
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am nagging a little bit, because I think this beer deserves a better rating than a 4.5. I am a bit spoiled though and I am wondering if the cellar period influenced my rating. Nevertheless I do think this beer is worth looking for.

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Photo of Zach_Attack
4.25/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12/2015 - Per most Central Waters' stouts, this has so much barrel abound! While there's certainly some heat, it's well executed and fairly smooth - classic!

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Photo of Treyliff
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage
22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- a near perfect mix of barrel and malt. Bold, oaky barrel on the nose brings out prominent notes of vanilla, coconut, caramel & barrel juice. Dark roasted malt gives notes of chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, nutty fudge, marshmallow, maple a hit of anise

T- huge barrel notes up front, tons of barrel juice, spicy oak, vanilla, caramel, maybe even some rye. Mid-palate continues the onslaught of barrel, with under tones of chocolate, anise, molasses & toffee poking through. The finish gives more spicy oak, brownies & tobacco, lingers of cola and bourbon

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that continues into a warming finish

O- As with Ardea Insignus, the bourbon barrel dominates throughout. As a bourbon drinker, I enjoyed it. But it's certainly unbalanced, as the barrel takes over through the whole experience

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Photo of gudbrande
4.55/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage

Pours black with a thin dark tan head. Aromas of bourbon, roast, some sweet vanilla and fudge. Maybe it's a bit thin, but not detrimental to the beer at all. Flavor is really well balanced barrel, roast, and some chocolate and vanilla. Doesn't fall short in any aspect, leaves nothing to be desired. Very much enjoyed this one.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.31/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 vintage.

A: Pours black with a smattering of fairly fine, dark brown head that recedes quickly to a razor thing ring. A couple dots of lacing.

S: Vanilla, dark chocolate, delicious bourbon and oak, mint, light roast. 

T: Cola, dark cacao chocolate bar, mint, bourbon, oak, hint of burnt coffee, along with light sweetness. Finishes with sort of a gritty dark cocoa and cola flavor. Hefty bourbon contribution that doesn’t overpower the rest. 

M: Full bodied with medium, cola-like carbonation. Light but smooth alcohol warmth. 

O: Tasty stuff, like a more refined version of BBS with similar bourbon and coke type flavors. The burnt note is a little distracting but still a solid beer.

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Photo of WhaleSlayer85
4.54/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16, 17.

Big barrel presence. Chocolate, fudge, bourbon, vanilla. Biggest knock on this beer is the mouthfeel. It's just not on the same level as the rest of the experience. However, the flavors and barrel quality are fantastic.

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Photo of darktronica
4.47/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2018 release. A moderately aggressive pour into a teku begrudgingly produces a finger of cocoa powder-colored head atop a pitch-black, but not super-thick, liquid. Oak, tannins, plum, bitter dark chocolate, bourbon booze, and pepper round out the nose. The front palate is very restrained but quickly blossoms, with warming bourbon spice, barrel wood, vanilla, and fudge. Intense barrel character that I love--strong, with a lot of whiskey character, but without a hot mid-palate. Modestly dry finish that leans back into the vinous notes and adds just a touch of smoke.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pouring a slick, stark black ribbon and filling to matte black, Black Gold has a thin but dense and uniform mocha-gold blanket that settles only to a thin ring around the rim.

I could smell this all day. Black Gold has a very maple-forward character that's slightly smoky, sticky and sweet, and very rich. Nutty and surprisingly peppery oak follows with notes of chocolate wafer and a dollop of vanilla whip cream. A faint sting of bourbon complexity comes out at the end of an inhale, bringing with it a hint of caramel and candy corn.

It immediately strikes me how very dry and very woody yet somehow not hot this is at first taste, which is a telling mark of excellent blending. Taste verges away from the maple in the aroma, and instead goes in the direction of toasted coconut and smooth vanilla with an unbelievably delectable char that rises after the swallow. It's kind of like salted caramel and brownie crust, but quite notably mature, particularly as it warms, when mocha liqueur and tobacco develop.

The medium body is supported by a mildly firm and satisfying fizz before a semi-dry, slightly sticky finish. A building warmth comes up quite a while after the swallow, but there's amazingly little heat on the front or middle.

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Photo of GeneralBurden
4.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a perfect lingering tan head.
Boozy bourbon, vanilla and toffee on the nose.
Taste follows the nose with a definite boozy bourbon burn. Will likely mellow with age. As it warms vanilla flavors begin to appear.
Nice smooth and slightly sticky mouthfeel.
Top notch BA stout. Smooth and relaxing.

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Photo of bbtkd
4/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Central Waters Black Gold BA Stout 2017, 13.2% ABV (as listed by taproom). Pours black with no head. Nose is bourbon, chocolate, and licorice. Taste follows, with moderate bitterness, and quite boozy. Decent mouthfeel, overall excellent. I've been hunting this whale for three years, and was a bit let-down. It was decent, but not as good as its reputation.

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Photo of Tommo
4.25/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

GTFO with all these wildly overhyped reviews. This was to say the least overhyped, however it is not a bad beer by any stretch. Smell is sweet, chocolate, bourbon. Flavor is chocolate, raisins and bourbon. Body medium. Nice feel to it. Good carb. Overall smooth, but nothing stunning

This is dramatically better than BCBS 2017, but at this point that is no longer the bar

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Photo of Masonz223
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smell: Intense amounts of fudge and barrel. Huge amounts of oak and dry wood. Vanilla, marshmallow, coconut, milk chocolate, oatmeal cookies, maple syrup, toasted coconut, dark roasted coffee. The Barrel presence along with this rich fudgey chocolate make for one great smelling beer.

Taste: Oh my god! This is amazing. This is rich and complex. Everything on the nose transitions to the pallet. Upfront your greeted with layers of rich fudge and milk chocolate, along with the tannins from the barrel. The Barrel presence is there throughout the rest of the tasting experience. Middle of the mouth you get fluffy marshmallow, vanilla, maple syrup, Milk chocolate, oatmeal cookie and oak. The beer finishes with a mellow bourbon heat and layers of oak and wood to go along with this coconut and vanilla sweetness. With a touch of coffee roastiness lingering in the aftertaste.

Feel: Full body, thick, smooth and velvety. Rich with a nice amount of creaminess. By far the best mouthfeel I've ever had on a central Waters Stout.

Overall: What a treat! This beer has got to be the best non adjunct Barrel Aged Stout I've ever had. Everything about this beer is perfect! If you haven't had this and you like barrel aged stouts trade for this. It's amazing and you won't be disappointed. A clear 5/5 100 World class grand slam of a beer!

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Photo of Lazhal
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting for this one for too long...

Taste is bourbon chocolate leather. Very silky which is nice. I get a slight bitterness on the back end, hops maybe? Nose is straight cocoa.

I like to compare beers. To me this is a similar beer to Bell's Black Note. I'd definitely give BG the edge. Given the limited availability of BG, I will probably prefer to seek out BN in the future.

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Photo of Benish
4.13/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Central Waters Brewery. Poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: soy sauce with a thin layer of bright brown foam that quickly dissipated to a ring around the glass.

Aroma: a hot boozy mess. Picked up black licorice and sweetened chocolate with massive amounts of oaky booze mixed in.

Taste: again a very hot boozy mess. Upon drinking, tasted a ton of black licorice all around and from start to finish of this serving. Also a very sharp notes of sickly sweet chocolate syrup that hits you hard with a splash of booze. The oak comes through once warmed. The flavors are aggressive, almost like taking their base beer (Fourteen Fourteen) and reducing a barrel to a single bottle.

Mouthfeel: very slick and smooth. Full-bodied, just not so creamy.

Overall: I can see how this receives a lot of hype - the flavors really are the star of the show. However I find it just way to heavy for my palate. I would have happily shared my 8 oz serving with 3 other people. For anyone with a bottle, share this with not just one, but multiple friends.

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Photo of RyanJohnCrain
4.69/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Shared a bomber at hotel before Anniversary party this year. poured into hotel cups and it coated the plastic! pitch black. nose was mellow but had a nice amount of molasses and chocolate fudge. The taste followed suit but added some complex malt roastyness and also some sweet barrel and vanilla flavors. The feel was the star of the show, thick and mouth coating with just the right bitterness to balance the dry finish. Overall this was a fantastic beer that I was happy I shared but would have loved to dome by myself.

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Photo of zonker17
4.59/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color with minimal head. Molasses, chocolate, booze nose. Taste comes in waves of chocolate, bourbon, wood, vanilla with creamy feel and low carbonation.

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Photo of aleigator
4.68/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours coal black with a small beige head, collapsing to a ring of froth lacing.

Has an almost subtle barrel profile on the nose, hence the aromas are defined by a warming blend of milk chocolate, melting caramel, roasty bakers chocolate and a warming molasses touch. Spicy licorice and oak round out the luscious chocolate appearance with a hint of old leaves.

Has a warming, pleasantly boozy, silk mouthfeel, which is incredibly creamy and thick, rich on the tongue till the end.

Spicy, sweet and dry Bourbon defines the flavors from the beginning with ridiculous amounts of milk chocolate and whipped cream. Roasty caramel, molasses, wooden cinnamon, dried raisins with a touch of coconut and hazelnut provide an astonishing depth, right from the beginning. Finishes with warming, almost boozy licorice and scorched malts with dark chocolate pralines and sweet molasses.

Decadently rich, not as boozy as '15 rare but even more milk chocolate leaden, with an almost comparable complexity. Awesome as for its oaken Bourbon quality, which entertains the palate throughout, warming and spicy, with soothing, cinnamon brownie batter in the finish.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage; drank 12/11/15 @ Yuss Haus Mach II.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Black/brown appearance.

Minimal tan head; no lace.

Dark chocolate, brown sugar, charred oak & faint booze heat notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Dark chocolate syrup & whiskey flavors up front; charred oak & faint red wine notes on the finish. A rich dessert treat that's a hint too boozy to be perfect.

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Photo of JAStheAce
4.41/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black Gold had a phenomenal nose. It looks like a BA imperial stout should look and left a slight mocha-coloured ring around my goblet . The pour was medium thick - not motor oil thick. I wafted chocolate and vanilla and a strong barrel and boozy notes too. The taste follows much the same. This is a very barrel forward beer. The booze presence is strong but not overwhelming or off-putting because this is what you expect in a BA imperial stout. Chocolatey and laced with vanilla on the palate and a very sticky mouthfeel that keeps your lips together if you let some beer linger and warm in your mouth. Overall, as my dear friend, Amguerra305, and I concurred while sipping, this beer misses something and lacks the balance of a Bourbon County Brand Stout but it is, nonetheless, a very good BA stout.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.41/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a touch thin to what I am used to. Hardly any head with just a lingering dark khaki ring around the edge of the glass; slightest bit of light peeking through the edges. Smell is very booze and barrel forward with a hint of vanilla. Chocolate and roast on the back end. Taste is rather sweet up front followed by bourbon and oak on the back end. There also seems to be a hint of anise somewhere going on. The smell is definitely better than the the taste which is very good but not great. Feel is a tad carbonated yet light thick in body. Overall a very barrel forward beer that seems to lack something to bring it all together. Smell is spot on, taste needs something more; bourbon county esque with something missing.

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Black Gold from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 810 ratings