Central Waters Brewing Co.

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American Imperial Stout
4.5 | pDev: 5.56%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: With each passing year, we refine our art and showcase our efforts in our Anniversary release. Eighteen is a blend of stouts that gain more depth and complexity from the bourbon barrels they call home for years. Cheers!
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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 240
Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Released January 2016; drank 12/2/16 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Black/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small, noisy tan head; minimal lace.

Oak, bourbon, dark chocolate & black cherry notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Oak, dark chocolate & bourbon heat flavors up front; sweet milk chocolate notes on the finish. Vanilla & black cherry notes emerged as this warmed.

It was boozy when chilled, but once warm this blossomed into a real treat. I bet it gets even better from here...

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Boy do I love me some CW barrel aged beers, the absolute best value in the world of barrel aged beers. This one pours like every other anniversary beer they've made: Black with a 1/2" brown head. Aroma of bourbon first and foremost. Then some roast and chocolate malt. Hops and wood stay off the nose for the most part.

Taste is where this beer excels. Deliciously layered bourbon, chocolate, roasted malt and oak to a lesser extent. Hides the alcohol amazingly well, not bitter or excessively hopped like some of those 100ibu imperial stouts out there. The chocolate feels are dark and fudgy. There is a mild current of earth, tobacco, wood, unsweetened caramel and leather in the mouth feel. Just when you think it is a simple straightforward barrel aged stout, it gives you those nuances as it warms on the back half of the course.

Carbonation appropriate. Only $15 a bottle is a steal, only bested by their $15/4 packs of barrel aged product.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Love these central waters anniversaries...obtained via trade some point not all that long ago. In a word....damn. I rarely use the terms leathery or tabacoo to describe a beer but if there's one, this is it. The barrel aging is refined and mature. Really great example of how great a BA stout can be. Mm mmm mmm.

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Photo of Slack
4.29/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz

Deep brown to black with minimal head and a thin but complete ring of head.

Nose is bourbon, oak, a bit of heat, and minor coffee.

Taste is mellow bourbon, oak, a bit of char, minor cocoa, minor leather, and caramel.

Mouthful is medium to heavy with the minorist bit of roughness. Carbonation is low. Finish is semi sweet.

A very nice Bourbon barrel stout. Nothing wrong here. Balanced and mellow with maybe a touch too much oak. At the same time, struggling to find this as highly rated as others. Would recommend nonetheless.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smell: whiskey milk chocolate vanilla toasted coconut oak

Taste: right upfront vanilla tobacco leather middle of the mouth milk chocolate hints of toasted coconut in the finish you get a smooth whiskey note toasted oak and dark chocolate

Feel: medium Body great carbonation creamy and smooth.

Overall: had this side by side with 19 I preferred 19 but this is still really damn good. I will keep saying it central waters has a great barrel aging program.

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Photo of Ri0
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 22oz bottle into snifter. I always drink the Anv. beers with one year of age. Color is like coal with a thin 1 finger tan hear. Quick retention and a few spots of lacing. Typical for for these. The aroma is ripe with bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa, marshmallow and thick caramel. The taste is more like 16 than 17. A splash of bourbon, vanilla with some dark fruit filled dark chocolates. A decent amount of oak, caramel, and light earthiness. Medium body with creamy, smooth feel. Carbonation is spot on. I don't remember if this was as good as 16, but it I did enjoy it more than 17.

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Photo of KevSal
4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mike, thanks for sharing your killer beer with me

22 into a fw glencairn

looks fantastic, appears massive, barely any head

nose is fantastic. huge bourbon brownie, punch of vanilla and oak

flavor is off the charts! very impressive as usual. reminds me more of fourteen fourteen than any other vintage, and that one fresh was one of the best ba beers i've had at the time. it's the nose amped to 11. fudgey bourbon brownie. as it warms all the malts come through more, you can tell they packed it with malts to get this body

body is the biggest of any of their ba stouts and vintages. the biggest complaint i've had of their ba beers including black gold is that it is on the thinner side of thick. this is full bodied boom

overall this is the best beer they've made yet, i'd say it's even better than their black gold. if you try any of cw beers make it this one

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Did a nice 3-year vertical of 16, 17, and 18 with some friends. It's so hard to pick a favorite because they were all amazing. Central Waters kills it for their anniversary beers - definitely worth seeking out for some barrel aged goodness in your life.

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Photo of Cfred371
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aged for roughly nine months, so maybe not the most accurate, but I can say that when fresh, this is damn near perfect

Look: Pours a dark brown/near black with nice dark khaki head, albeit a small head

Smell: barrel characters stand out with toasted coconut standing out

Taste: toasted coconut starts it off with tootsie roll coming in, and a delicate chocolate flavor as well.

Feel: the body seems a bit thin or the style, but this is expected from CW

Overall: I loved this beer before I sat on it, but even after nine months this is a top tier BA Stout. Trade for it if you can.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: pours brown with a film of head
S: smells like wheaties, slight barrel, some sweetness
T: some spiced whiskey, slightly boozy, not big chocolate.
F: medium thinness, a bit of spiced alcohol
O: a good ba stout, but nothing overwhelming.

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Photo of Zoomslowik
4.11/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Black with a bit of bubbly head that lingers in a thin band.

S- Nice aroma of bourbon and chocolate. A little nutty.

T- The flavors don't blend quite right for me. Blasts of bourbon, oak and coffee. Chocolate here and there that I wish were more prominent to balance it out.

F- Thick enough, but the carb level makes it go down slightly harsh.

O- It seemed promising when I poured it, but this one didn't quite do it for me. Not bad, but not something I'll chase again.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tan head. Black in color.

Roasted malts with some nutty flavors. Fudgy and brownie flavors. Bourbon and oak. Some heat. Chcolate.

Full bodied. Smooth. Rich.

Great beer! Very enjoyable and complex. Love this one.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A black beer with a tan head that sticks around the edges while drinking.

S: Boozy. Oak, smooth bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, roast.

T: Huge oak character throughout. Some dark chocolate, vanilla and little roast but mostly oak and chocolate/vanilla.

M: A little thinner than I thought I would be, but not thin. It's a slick, silky smooth, mid full mouthfeel.

O: This beer is amazing. The barrel character alone sets it apart from other BA stouts. Silky smooth beer with oak barrel for days. Truly unique.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.93/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

CW makes good beers and it's been too long since I had one. Thanks, Sam!

A black with a thick, brown head with good retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose is big, roasty and with molasses, treacle, chocolate syrup, vanilla and bourbon. A potent blend of sweetness and roast is present. The palate opens with a big malt chocolate flavor, along with sweet coffee, a moderate bitterness from roasted grain, some dark chocolate and coffee bitterness. Vanilla and bourbon are present, lending a boozy note to the palate. Full in body, mildly carbonated, this beer has a long finish with a blend of sweetness and bitterness. Solid, though the malted milk chocolate sweetness is a little much for my liking.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Jeff for this one. 22oz. capped bottle into a Surly teku. Shared with schen9303.

Aroma is of logan, chocolate, fudge, charred dark fruit, tobacco and roasted malt. Not as sweet or boozy as I'd like but solid. Opens chocolate, fudge, cocoa powder and dark fruit. Bourbon notes and roasted malt in the middle with hints of raisin, logan and prunes. Pretty good. Full bodied with moderate to ample carbonation. Some bubbles on the palate and aggressive going down. A touch of heat going down but this is rather soft. Decent.

This is a good beer but it doesn't hold a candle to the other Anniversarys from Central Waters. Worth trying but given what the other beers have been, this is a little lacking.

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Photo of richj1970
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pitch black with one finger mocha head with decent retention and leaving some light lacing.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coconut, vanilla, molasses, and a hint of coffee.

T: Complex mix of chocolate fudge, vanilla, coconut, hazelnut, and bourbon.

M: Full bodied but not thick with average carbonation.

O: Outstanding BA stout. Central Waters is killing their barrel aged program, and this is no exception.

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Photo of eppie82
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From bottle into mini snifter.

This was used in a comparison versus Black Gold '15 at the same time. Look is dark, deep brown, but definitely not black. Not much foam head upon pour, but a nice ring with some 'legs' on side of the glass as it's drink down. Smell is of a lot of bourbon and some sweetness from chocolate, toffee and a hint of coffee. Taste is a bit more boozy than expected upon initial sip, but it somehow feels smoother as you get to the aftertaste. Very solid. However, in comparison to Black Gold '15, it seemed to lack that added depth of 'darker' flavor.

Overall, a great beer I would gladly trade for again. Maybe with another year, some of the front end booziness wears off but this is good drinking right now as well.

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Photo of Scooter1027
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another great CW barrel aged stout. Their barrel program is consistently good. This stout is a great, balanced mix of bourbon, vanilla, roasty chocolate, oak, toffee, and just hints of coffee. It has a thicker, fuller feel than their Brewers Reserve series, which sometimes comes off a little thin. This is definitely one to seek out.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark chocolate color. Aroma is boozy with roasted malts and chocolate. The flavor follows the nose and you pick up some coffee. Coffee gives a bit of bitterness but still this is really good.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber into a snifter.

Love the viscosity on the pour. Thick black body. Cocoa head that sticks around for quite some time. Settles into a persistent film. This beer looks big.

Delectable aroma. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate. A dose of coffee that becomes more apparent with warmth.

Lots to enjoy here. Dark chocolate, brownie, vanilla, spicy bourbon, roasted coffee. Also some solvent flavors that I don't welcome, but aren't entirely ruinous to the beer.

Aside from still showing some signs of booze, this is really rich and full-bodied. Creamy with a light spice feel. Clean-drinking overall.

This is nice but I think I'd give it a little bit longer in the cellar.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black dark beer with minimal head. Smells like a chocolate coffee. Nice balance between the roasted dark malts and the bourbon. Nice thick mouthfeel. A really well done beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle. Black body. Smells very rich. Lots of bourbon. Molasses. Brown sugar and fudge. Tastes very oaky. Strong bourbon. Bitter chocolate. Not as sweet as it smells. Dark chocolate finish. Heavy. Very tasty, even if I can't really tell the difference between these anniversary beers.

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Photo of kevanb
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter glass.

The beer pours a nice jet black color, thick and creamy as it pours from the bottle with a big, thick, caramel colored head, about two fingers high that has good retention and yields some spotted lace. The aroma really showcases the barrel aging, loads of bourbon, charred oak, toffee, nougat, vanilla, bittersweet dark chocolate, brown sugar and smooth roasted grains. The flavors are just as robust and complex, loads of creamy chocolate, rich bourbon, chewy oak, mild char, light roast, dark rich grains, vanilla bean, brown sugar and toffee linger with just a touch of acidity and some stone fruit flavors. The mouthfeel is decent, a bit thinner and more carbonated for the style than I would prefer, but not unexpected for Central Waters. It's coating and fairly full bodied that finishes easily with a bite of a prickly dry bite.

Verdict: A very nice barrel aged stout from Central Waters and a definitely improvement over their annual barrel aged stout release. This is much more developed, complex and elegantly balanced, but still suffers a bit from the thinner body. I would certainly recommend this for any stout lover, but it's not quite a world beater.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is really good. Only black, micro thin head clings to the glass when moved. Smell is boozy barrel character. Coffee, caramel, dry dark chocolate.

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Photo of KevBot89
4.36/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a tan head.

Smell is chocolate, plums, smoked malts, whiskey, vanilla, nuts.

Taste is barrel heavy, some smoky/ashy flavors going on, strong alcohol heat. Sweet milk chocolate resides in the back with some vanilla and dark fruits.

Feel is medium-heavy thickness, lingering alcohol heat back palate.

This is a pretty nice sipping beer.

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Eighteen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 240 ratings