Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian Sunset
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian SunsetBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian Sunset
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #140
Ranked #560
4.36 | pDev: 6.19%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian SunsetBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian Sunset
Notes: A bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with local Emy J's coffee, whole vanilla beans, and cinnamon. The flavor profile of this wonderful beer boasts a lush mouthfeel, with just the right amount of creamy spice character to meld with the rich malt and barrel-aged profile.
Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 740 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2018 vintage.

A: Black with some lighter mahogany hues. One finger of beige head settles into a thin cap. Tiny spots of lacing.

S: Cinnamon rolls, fudge sauce, mocha, caramel, bourbon ball candy, oak, and bourbon barrel.

T: Baker's chocolate and roasty malt flavors up front. Thin ribbon of caramel. Mocha. Bourbon ball candy. Cinnamon is on the more subtle side. Nougat and vanilla. Oak, mild woody char, and an undercurrent of sweet bourbon minus any bite. Long and pleasant finish of semi-sweet chocolate, cinnamon, and bourbon ball candy.

M: Thick, moderate heft, chewy and velvety texture. Ample carbonation has a very gentle touch and creates an airy, whipped feel.

O: So many of the so-called "pastry stouts" out there today are just sugar bombs and a bad case of diabetes waiting to happen. I'm very happy to report that is not the case here. This ends up being a very drinkable imperial stout that really grew on me as I made my way through the glass. There's a subtle touch here, and a great sense of balance. No one ingredient outshines another, and the sum of the parts creates something greater. One would struggle to believe this is nigh on 12% abv, too. It goes down far too easily for a beer of its size. Well worth a drink.

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Photo of wl2bill
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one took a couple of bottles to warm up to. I did not appreciate all it has going on right away. I just drank the last one in the 4pk, about a year since the first. I have liked it more with each bottle.

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Photo of rex_4539
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Jet black color, almost no head, not lacing to speak of, light carbonation.

S: Chocolate, coffee. Quite faint.

T: Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon. Delicious!

F: Full bodied, full flavored. Very smooth.

O: A super delicious dessert imperial stout.

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Photo of Wolvmar
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Oct 2018 Update
All the same as prior except a few months older. Still a huge cinnamon taste with vanilla behind it. It’s interesting but not my thing. Revised rating down .25 points for taste.

12oz bottle. 2018 vintage, maybe April bottle date, so likely 16 months old. Bought at B&V on clearance... Poured into a tulip glass.

Pour: deep brown with a thin light tan head. Solid ring and some clouds. Small amount of lacing.

Nose: coffee, sweet malt and bourbon. Surprisingly sweet.

Taste: rich dark chocolate, coffee with a little sweet cream, cinnamon definitely present especially in the middle and end. Moderate bitter coffee/chocolate at the end.

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation, fairly thick and rich. Not real viscous and fairly clean, dry finish.

Overall: this is a good beer that is differentiated by the cinnamon spice. I like but don’t love it. Worth trying for sure. Will see how second bottle is and one after aging some more.

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Photo of thebeers
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark chestnut brown with a fat finger of light tan head that looks like it will fizz away quickly but does last for a minute or two. Moderate lacing.

Light cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla and coffee in the nose — in that order — with a slight hint of sticky toffee-and-cherry bourbon notes.

Nice mix of chocolate and cinnamon up front in the taste. Just a hint of coffee and vanilla in the finish. The barrel presence is very restrained, but there is a hint of alcohol.

Smooth feeling — almost slick, but a bit too thin to feel oily — with some life left in the carbonation.

This has less barrel qualities than other BBA Central Waters beers I’ve tried. The cinnamon levels are really excellent, and the vanilla adds a nice undertone. The coffee seems to have faded, as should be expected in a 2017 bottle.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with minimal light penetration. There’s a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering half of the top. The aroma is of cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee. I’m tasting cinnamon, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon. The mouth is thick and viscous.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml Bottle from (£6.30):
Opaque black with a foamy beige head that sits about half a centimetre tall & covers the surface well before turning slightly patchy thirty seconds or so later. The nose has a lot of bourbon with a little vanilla sweetness but it’s not too strong or overpowering thankfully, it's got some dark fruits & a little butterscotch to help the balance with some chocolate & a touch of alcohol grain at the end too. The taste is similar with vanilla & a bourbon tinged oak taste in the early going alongside the butterscotch from the nose. These flavours are followed by some dark cherries, a slightly milky chocolate taste & a subtle bitterness. It's a full bodied beer with a smooth mouthfeel & a nice sweetness a little further on before some of the alcohol starts to show & give the beer a warming & slightly boozy feel towards the end but it was still quite easy to drink despite the strength; excellent stuff really.

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Photo of drtth
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The dark black beer pours out into a snifter glass where some reddish brown highlights show around the edges as the 1/2” light tan head begins to visibly recede to a thin irregular island of foam and a small ring around the glass. Eventually all that remains is the small ring. Sipping creates some scattered patches of foam, most of which slide back down to the liquid. By about midway through the beer there is very little foam anywhere.

The light aromas include some dark chocolate, some vanilla, some coffee and a bit of cinnamon.

The flavors are a bit stronger than expected from the nose with the dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee all showing more forcefully than expected. In addition there’s some sweetness, some light cinnamon and a bit of oak. The alcohol is well concealed except for the warming effect it creates. The light bitterness is more about the dark roasted malt than the hops.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium bodied and fairly smooth with the very light but persistent and finely bubbled carbonation. The finish begins as the light sweetness and most of the flavors start to slowly fade to a semi-dry, slightly bitter, slightly spicy ending in the back of the palate.

Overall I’d say this is a well made barrel aged stout that is both enjoyable and drinkable, but, at this ABV it is also a one a night beer that could be consumed a sip at a time sitting next to the fireplace with a nice fire and while reading a good book.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2018 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. The beer pours a rich cola brown color with minimal beige colored head. This foam moves to a thin edge layer and a few wispy islands on the top of my glass.
The aroma on this one is some roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a bit of bourbon and vanilla. No hops on the nose and the booze is well hidden too. Seems to be an M.O. for Central Waters beers.
The first sip reveals an average body with fine gentle and spacious carbonation. Flavor is all malt just as the nose advertised with roasted malt notes, some coffee grounds, sweet chocolate, brown sugar, and a little bourbon. There is a hint of the cinnamon promised on the label every time I burp, and this flavor actually works pretty well with everything else on this beer. The beer has no booze profile so this is a dangerous beer that will sneak up on you. I dont get any hops on this brew and in general find this an enjoyable brew.
Worth trying if you get a chance and like malty brews.

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Photo of mishi_d
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color with tan head, aroma of bourbon, chocolate and caramel, taste is medium sweet / lightly bitter / lightly sour, medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color with tan head. Aroma has bourbon, toffee, butterscotch and caramel. Taste follows with toffee, bourbon, a bit of cinnamon and a touch of bitter dark cherries. Medium body and carbonation. Really nice bourbon character, well rounded and easy drinking.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

De Labirratorium. En copa Teku. Viendo Westworld 2x06-07. Con papas fritas Santa Ana. La mas compleja de las stout de central waters que he probao y con el mejor cuerpo.Sobresale la canela dandole toque interesante sin saturar

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Photo of zeff80
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of bourbon, coffee, chocolate and toffee. Boozy bourbon taste with vanilla and oak. Sweet chocolate, toffee and roasty coffee taste, too.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thin tan head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is cinnamon, coffee and vanilla.

T - The taste is cinnamon, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - Very solid BBA stout. Flavors are well balanced with the alcohol well hidden.

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Photo of MNAle
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is roasted coffee, whiskey, vanilla, and sweet malts. Deeply black, with only a tinge of ruby around the edges with a back light. Short tan head, creamy and thick, that falls quickly to a ring. Wonderfully thick and creamy body. Initial taste is vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee; just a little whiskey. The finish is slightly bitter, but the sweet malts remain throughout.

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Photo of KyleTheBeerMan
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beginning of the mouth offers a luscious mouthfeel offering a spiced cinnamon that melds exquisitely with a creamy smooth vanilla bean and as those flavors mingle they nearly create a cinnamon/vanilla buttercream that teases the pallet with sweetness yet isn’t cloying , then you get the eye opening flavor of the high quality medium roast coffee that coats the mouth with a moderately robust viscosity yet subdued presence of the bitter finish of the bean that allows for the bourbon barrel to shine so well it accentuates the other flavors and finish’s with a deep oak soaked malt that hides the ethanol allowing a drinkability rarely found with its style. 4.6/5

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Photo of JdubsNY
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Central Waters has a fantastic barrel-aging program that continues to excel year over year. Cassian Sunset takes the excellent base stout and enhances the coffee and vanilla bean flavors with a perfect amount of cinnamon. Excellent variation of the typical Mexican hot chocolates that use chili peppers instead. Well done!

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Photo of Damian
3.18/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Drank from a 12 fluid oz bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Vintage: 2018
Served in a tulip

Surprisingly thin in body. The darker brown liquid was topped by a frothy, near finger-tall, khaki colored crown that dropped to a thick, clingy, resilient collar. Streaks of lacing stuck along the glass.

The aroma was super bourbon forward. This smelled almost more like bourbon than beer. Really boozy. Huge vanilla presence. Fresh vanilla bean came to mind. Malty and fairly roasty. Some sweetness appeared as the beer warmed. Later, the alcohol subsided a bit.

The flavor profile was sharp and somewhat astringent. Boozy notes dominated. I picked up more straight whiskey than bourbon. Fairly roasty and dry on the front end. Subtle bourbon and vanilla notes were detectable in the center. More harsh booze and bitter roast on the back end and in the finish. Notes of boozy heat and acrid char lingered after the swallow. Like the nose, some sweetness appeared as the beer warmed. Hint of brown sugar.

Thinner bodied mouthfeel. The liquid contained a fairly intense, larger bubbled effervescence that turned fluffy and soft on the palate. Decent for most styles but underwhelming for an 11.7% imperial stout.

Coffee? Nope. Cinnamon? None that I picked up. Overtly boozy, excessively roasty and thin in body, this beer was a real disappointment. I am perplex by the ratings and the generally positive sentiments for it.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this beer from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass, this beer pours out a coffee brown, like it’s counterpart. This on the other hand forms a creamy, tightly packed khaki colored crown. Pinky width and holds with moderate retention and even leaves a little stringy lacing. 4.25

The smell brings a nice mix of vanilla and cinnamon tangling together. Vanilla almost makes a marshmallow presence be thought of. Dry oak detectable. Coffee is slight and bourbon becomes more present the deeper in you breath. 4

The taste comes in with a smooth and sweet vanilla before turning to a present cinnamon. Slight marshmallow effect. Very light coffee in this just like the Peruvian Morning, which really shocks me since they address the coffee on both. I would just assume it would be more present. But the balance between everything in this is respectable. 4

The mouthfeel provides a medium body with much better carbonation than Peruvian Morning, not leaving it feeling so flat. Smooth and creamy with a dry oak finish. Being picky, I would like a little bit more of a warming effect in this for the style. 4

Overall, this is a solid and well made brew that offers several aspects, all balanced together and with none trying to steal the show. Respectable. 4

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Photo of JamFuel
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, with very little head.

Smell is rich and spicy, mostly cinnamon, to start, with coffee, vanilla and chocolate quiickly assuming control. Slight hint of oak as well.

Taste is soft and sweet pfront, but grows rich very quickly. Big notes of roasted coffee, cinnamon, vanilla and some bitter, really dark chocolate. Long finish with great balance between bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel is medium, well carbonated.

Overall, a stout that smells and tastes great. I would like it to be a bit thicker, but still very, very good.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Starts with a nice complexity. First is coffee and that moves to bourbon and the vanilla. In time the spicing presents with a blend instead of distinct. All this holds a base of the rich RIS with dark malt and dark fruit. Very nice.
Small but dense tan head leaving a rich lacing. Body is black with brown highlights.
The drink is much more immediately blended with all the above showing in a complex orgy of flavors. Distinct drying from the malt and the spices. This is reasonably fresh so it has the sharper quality to the malt. Again, nice blending.
Not the biggest or richest mouthfeel but smooth and soft in a bigger than moderate presentation. Alcohol a bit in flavor (sweet and perfume) but apparent in the warmth that hits the gut quickly, not to mention the ping in the pre-frontal cortex.
This deserves the many accolades. Nicely done.
Thanks Sparky.

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Photo of PEACO82287
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft pour. Good color and big carbonation for a bba stout. Minimal lacing for a beer of this abv. Smell of bourbon notes and cinnamon.

The booziness is not well hidden in the taste but that isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Strong bourbon notes and cinnamon, with a light roast and dark chocolate finish.

Not an elite stout, but different and easy to sip... a nice change to the heavy imperials. Would like to compare with Cinnamon Roll and similar stouts. Worth a bottle.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Welcome to Happy New Taking the Central Waters Sunday (Week 719), which may be short-lived due to redundancy, but c'est la guerre!

From the Bottle: "A bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with local Emy J's coffee, whole vanilla beans, and cinnamon. The flavor profile of this wonderful beer boasts a lush mouthfeel, with just the right amount of creamy spice character to meld with the rich malt and barrel-aged profile."; "Stout aged in used oak Bourbon barrels with coffee, vanilla beans, and cinnamon added".

This sounds fantastic! I recently spoke of heating beer in a double-boiler & this might be another candidate! I began by Pop!ping the cap, followed by a slow, gentle, C-Line pour into the awaiting glass. This, along with the dimpled bottom of the glass, caused a pseudo-cascade followed by the formation of three-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, light-tan head with very good retention, leaving loads of lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was redolent with cinnamon, underlain with chocolate, coffee, vanilla & a light smokiness. 8=O Mmm. The oak barrel aging brought out vanilla, coconut & wood, as well. 8=) Yum. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, although I found it a tad thin for the style. The taste was exactly as advertised - coffee & cinnamon up front, followed by coconut & vanilla, backed up by a light chocolatiness. Oh man, I could warm this up, throw in a cinnamon stick, a dollop of whipped cream on top & we would be off & running. Once again, I found myself licking my lips following a drink of a beer. Joe Sixpack advises me that my method is "wassailing" NOT "mulling" & there is a difference! How do I suck, I mean, get sucked into these things?!? Well, I am telling you, as I have drank (& become drunk) through this one, it has been a revelation! The cinnamon was the big win with the rest of it as secondary flavors/adjuncts enhanced/fortified by the barrel aging. This was a great, big, great big beer for the holidays! Hohoho. Finish was dry, especially due to the inclusion of spices in the form of cinnamon. Muy bueno! Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate … did I invoke that or did a random synapse just connect & fire?

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Photo of tone77
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of bourbon, chocolate. Taste is of bourbon, black coffee, some chocolate and cinnamon. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall, I didn't find it to be world class, but it is a good beer.

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Photo of jhavs
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter.

Pours dark dark brown with a mocha colored head. Head is foamy and pops itself out quickly into a thin collar of foam.

Aroma of rich roasted coffee and some boozy bourbon.

Flavor is smooth bittersweet cocoa, bitter coffee and a rich layer of smooth bourbon. Slight booze warmth but blended nicely into the background flavors. Vanilla seems a bit hidden to me and cinnamon only comes through when it warms as a slightly spicy finish.

A bit thinner than I was expecting, smooth with a bit under moderate carbonation.

A great flavor brew that has a nice level of booze and barrel presence. Flavors meld together nicely.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cassian Sunset from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 740 ratings