Black Gold
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Black GoldBlack Gold
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #25
Ranked #97
4.57 | pDev: 6.56%
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: 123 | Ratings: 850 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Beersnake1 from California

4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited about this one. Poured from fridge temp. Pours motor oil black with almost no head. It looks thick!

Nose: Beautiful. Roasted malts and dark fruit jump out immediately. The bourbon is definitely there, adding nice vanilla and caramel notes. Chocolate notes come through nicely. The nose is generally sweet, with no detectable bitterness. Molasses starts to get noticeable as it warms.

Taste: Wow. What a nice marriage of roasted malts and sweet bourbon notes. Dark chocolate, charred oak, toffee, vanilla, dark berries, raisins, dates, a touch of leather, earth, and brown sugar. This is just a fantastic barrel-aged stout. Each sip makes me want more.

Mouthfeel: Not the thickest stout in the world, but definitely creamy and silky. Just amazing. Overall, a huge winner in my books. I hope you track another down at some point.

Oct 03, 2021
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2020 vintage; consumed on 9/18/21

Pours an inky black body topped with over two fingers of fluffy, khaki-colored foam; decent head retention leaves paper-thin islands of cap, large, frothy collar, minimal-no lacing holding to the walls of the glass.

Aroma brings a soft touch of molasses upfront, carrying soft caramel creams into a steadily building oaky vanilla and eventually culminating with robust waves of raw cacao meeting oaky bourbon.

Taste opens with bittersweet cocoa tinged with toasted oak barrel and residual bourbon characteristics, though the malt is central, peaking over the mid-palate with the purest, flaky roast sensations cooly revealing layer upon layer of oily, raw cacao, burnt almond, and evocative dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-light body, silkily textured and, in tune with a soft, prickly carbonation, sporting mild gritty accents into the mid-palate; suggestions of distant char and balanced booziness enhance over the back end, eventually leveling out to a dry roast along the palate's finish.

Chocolate, malted chocolate, dragged from the most evocative expanses of its malt profile and kissed with a softly integrated bourbon implicating a doting heat to further accentuate the already resonant roast; a classic sipper, its quintessence on full display.

Sep 20, 2021
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

4.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11 August 2021 - Beer #247 - BA Top 250 Alert!

Acquired via trade
Current Rank: #98 on Beer Advocate

Appearance: 5 - blacky black but a bit thin at the edges. The head remains as a thin halo.

Nose: 4 - I'm not getting much barrel here. Smells like a straight up imperial stout. Good thing I like those.

Taste: 5 - yeah, definitely more barrel here. This tastes like Bourbon County's little cousin who's a bit rough around the edges. Just a tad bitter.

Mouth: 5 - silky smooth. Slightly thick, but like velvet going down.

Overall: 5 - really world class. My only gripe is the slight bitterness


Aug 12, 2021
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.11/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like roasted malt, spicy oak, dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and vanilla.

This is definitely old school in execution - there's lots of roast and spice here. There's a big barrel character - oak char, vanilla, spicy bourbon - it feels like something that was in barrels a decently long time. There's some dark fruit and lots of dark chocolate, along with a cigar-like bitterness.

This is medium bodied, not quite as thin as most Central Waters, with a *slightly* prickly carbonation to it. If the carbonation was dropped a smidgen, the mouthfeel would be much better.

There's a lot to love about this one - it's a good idea to revisit what barrel aged stouts used to be.

Apr 30, 2021
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

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

Appearance - The beer poured a fuzzy black color with a mocha colored head crowning the glass.

Smell - The nose was malty bourbon. The booze does not dominate. There was a nice malty presence.

Taste - this was like barrel aged chocolate malt. The profile was well balanced. It was like chocolate malt, but it was not too boozy. Darker chocolate emerged at the finish.

Mouthfeel - The lower carbonation allowed chocolate to linger.

Overall - The chocolatey goodness lingered nicely.

Jan 01, 2021
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.4/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Striking gold isn't easy. Once you find it once, you gotta keep going back time after time. And that's what Central Waters Brewing does with their bourbon barrel aged American Double Stout. Except, its black gold.

And the beer of that exact namesake pours with the consistency of used motor oil, black and inky upon the pour, a patient froth begins to release. The draw of caramelized char, coffee, chocolate, nuttiness and wonderfully burnt cream is too much for the nose to resist. In similar form the initial taste is lush with molasses, brown sugar and cream in suggestive of roasted marshmallows.

As the flavors roll along the middle palate, a strong sense of coffee, cocoa and roasted walnut overcomes the sweetness and begins to usher in the bourbon complexities with charred oak, vanilla, coconut, cherry and caramelized whisky spice. Trending moderately bitter, the late palate highlights a walnut character with coffee-like bitterness although all are probably hop-derived.

Full bodied and quite decadent overall, the rich and chewy ale never promotes cloying textures, but finishes long and fat with malt flavor and mouthfeel. An extended warmth of peppery whisky and a simmering bourbon heat resonates slightly past the char and the beer's nearly port-like fruitiness.

Dec 28, 2020
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bl00 from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with more than head than expected, thicker than I remember last year Lots of nice barrel on both nose and taste. Very smooth and no heat. Love this one and will seek it out every year.

Dec 26, 2020
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npolachek from New York

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

Good stout - a little bitter for my liking but still very decent. I thought the taste was very decent but the after was not phenominal. Definitelty solid and good.

Aug 30, 2020
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bret27 from California

4.32/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2019 bottle courtesy of HOPTOMIC_BOMB.
Look: black, thick brown head.
Smell: vanilla, chocolate, barrel, gelcap,
Taste: chocolate malt, old oak, Cake, vanilla, roasty, port, Minimal booze character.
Mouthfeel: medium thick, perfect for style. Coats mouth a bit.
Overall: Near perfect BA Stout. Only complaint is slight chemical/gel cap plastic taste. Very minimal. Doesn’t wreck it.

Jul 11, 2020
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Wayne17 from Texas

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.

May 22, 2020
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Sandis from Minnesota

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.

Mar 19, 2020
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pants678 from California

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.

Jan 04, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

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

Dec 06, 2019
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StJamesGate from New York

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.

Oct 25, 2019
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Mar02x from Netherlands

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.

May 29, 2019
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Zach_Attack from Massachusetts

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!

Jan 02, 2019
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Treyliff from West Virginia

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

Jan 01, 2019
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gudbrande from Minnesota

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.

Dec 01, 2018
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pmarlowe from Virginia

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.

Nov 20, 2018
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WhaleSlayer85 from Illinois

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.

Nov 19, 2018
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darktronica from Indiana

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.

Nov 02, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

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.

Nov 01, 2018
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GeneralBurden from Minnesota

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.

Oct 26, 2018
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bbtkd from South Dakota

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.

Sep 24, 2018
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Tommo from Massachusetts

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

Jan 06, 2018
Black Gold from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 850 ratings