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Eighteen | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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239 Ratings

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 239 |  Reviews: 43
Reviews by pagriley:
Photo of pagriley
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz into snifter - picked up today at the release and poured at Chicago January car trunk temperature

L - Pours inky black with a solid 1 inch of mocha head that falls quickly. Minimal lacing and a thin ring of foam. Heavy syrup legs at a swirl
S - Big semi sweet chocolate up front layered with booze and vanilla. Quite a bit of roast and a hint of coffee, but vanilla oak is dominant
T - Boozy and a bit hot up front, but as it settles down there is dark chocolate, dates and a soft slightly ashen finish
F - Fantastic body - the regular BB stout is on the thinner side, but this is chewy and creamy without being overly thick and heavy. Very well balanced body

Overall, this is young and hot right now, but the layers are there. With a bit of time in the cellar for the booze to die down this is going to be almost as good as black gold. Central waters is really crushing it with the barrel program, and this beer is no exception. If you get a hold of one, give it 6 months for the heat to subside and it will be even better that it is now.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.89/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.
11% ABV

A - Eighteen pours an oily dark black that's crowned by a sturdy cap of rich and dense mocha foam that lingers for quite some time, slowly receding to a skim of loose bubbles while leaving lace on the glass.

S - Dark in every sense of the word, Eighteen has a rich bitter dark/baker's chocolate aromatic presence underscored by black strap molasses. A mix of milk chocolate covered coffee light-roast beans and raisins mingle in the background giving Eighteen deeper complexity that shifts to an incredible milk chocolate truffle filled with whipped nougat, hazelnut, and toffee shavings. Vanilla and charred oak as well as a touch of bourbon heat are at the forefront of this orgasmic aroma but certainly cause no overwhelming or overly boozy characteristics.

T - As an imperial stout the showcase of Eighteen is malt all the way but, the aroma of this barrel-aged beer does focus a little bit more on it's time in wood than it does in the flavor. Dark, dark malts capture a deeply complex chocolate profile that ranges from sweet milk chocolate drizzled over oily coffee beans and sticky raisins to the 90% cocoa dark chocolate morsels that bring the bitterness. A sticky smear of molasses mingles with vanilla bean and hazelnut in a unique way that's unlike the directness of the truffle the aroma suggests as it warms.

M - Viscous and oily, this thick stout has a full body that borders on throat-coating without becoming either overly sweet or cloying. A sipping beer? Absolutely, but its rich presence, moderately dry and bitter finish, and belly-warming effect should leave not a soul wanting in regards to body!

O - Deep, rich, and abundantly complex, Eighteen is a barrel-aged masterpiece that showcases the organic incorporation of characteristics barrel-aging imparts on a heavily malty stout. From its ever-changing chocolate aromatics laced with hazelnut and vanilla nuances through the molasses and coffee flavors to the smooth and warming body, all gently surrounded by an overarching bourbon barrel presence, Eighteen can be enjoyed fresh as well as saved to develop further, standing the test of time.

Candidly, the discussion was had among a few of us at the anniversary party about the similarities between barrel-aged stouts; not just Central Waters, but all of them. Imbibing from the bottle while packing up this beer was most definitely not the best way to experience the beer in full fashion but sitting down with it at proper temp and in a glass, I can confidently say Eighteen is unlike any of Central Waters' other barrel-aged stout releases. Coming from the same brewery, there are definite similarities anyone privy to prior releases might acknowledge but, Eighteen is in a class all its own; the knowledge of self, process of experience and learning, and downright skill of Central Waters seriously shines in this latest release. Well done, gentlemen. I can't wait to see what Nineteen holds!

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Photo of Elumbeer
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber split between a Teku and Belgian Snifter (which I slightly preferred for this beer). Initial temp at about 51 degrees.
(also had plenty in a plastic cup at the party, but was much more impressed at home)

Pours a beautiful thick black. Fairly normal pour still yields a surprisingly large amount of darker mocha head for a big stout. Looks almost as good in the glass as it does behind that label.

Smell is a wonderfully complex sweet malty chocolate. Some barrel, but not as much as I'd expect coming from CW- it's balanced well. Maybe a hint of hazelnut?

That taste... Liquid brownies. Not quite in the same life-changing way as drinking a 2-yr-old 16 right now, but not too far off either. A range of chocolates, up-front maltiness, and a bit of nut. A bit more carbonation than I expect from big stouts (definitely more than a current 16), which makes the consistency just light enough for the taste to stick in your mouth without getting annoying or sickeningly sweet. A tiny bit like a milkshake. I want this in my mouth at all times.

Kinda makes me think of a better version of Bomb!. Very malt-forward, with plenty of subtle adjuncts to keep it interesting. Would not be surprised if there was some pepper and vanilla bean hiding in this one somewhere.

Easily one of the best stouts in existence. I'll definitely be interested to see how the flavors meld over the next couple years, but it's going to be hard resisting the urge to drink all I have right now.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Central Waters' 18th Anniversary party. Served cold as usual, but these tasting notes are based on when it reaches cellar temperature.

Dark brown, nearly black body, one finger frothy mocha head, good retention and lacing. Smells of chocolate, fudge, smoky bourbon, a bit of oak, mild roast, brownies. Flavour is heavy on the chocolate, brownies, milk chocolate, fudge, fair amount of bourbon. Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and substantial, appropriate carbonation, and disappears out of my glass way too easily. Another well-done bourbon barrel imperial stout from Central Waters that is much closer to 16 than 17. The folks in Amherst never disappoint.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally had a chance to crack a bottle of this year's anniversary beer about two weeks after it was released. With the annual anniversary release, Central Waters has turned late January/early February into a time I look forward to on the beer calendar.

Fairly thick looking pour in the glass and nose was bourbon and chocolate. Taste was very similar to Sixteen (bourbon, chocolate, vanilla) but there was a very nice sweet aftertaste on the back end of each sip. It reminded me of "Dark Lord" like sweetness but not quite that intense. As the beer warmed, I started to get brownie batter which seems to be a characteristic of Central Waters big stouts.

Another great anniversary stout. I only had two small nit picks. One is the beer was a little hot yet but as with most big stouts, I am sure a year from now that will have faded away. The other is that I worry that the anniversary stouts and Black Gold are all going to start to run together as they are all very similar. I sometimes think that I would like to see them do something slightly different for one of their anniversary beers. But then again, why tinker with a formula that produces great barrel aged stouts year after year!

 1,192 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle with lovely minimalist heron in profile, shared with my wife (because if I didn’t, after going to the party & drinking a bunch on tap, well, my reviewing days would be over).

The pour is black. Fairly lively, though that life is as short-lived as the box elder bug that just flew past my face. My wife claimed she could smell it on the pour; & that smell doesn’t disappoint. Smells like the good things in life (no, the other things): bourbon, sweet malts, chocolate. I could describe the colors of the Mona Lisa for you too, if you’d like. Lovely.

Eighteen: what do they put in the water in Amherst? Whatever it is, I’d like to get a jug or two. The fudge outshines the bourbon, but it’s a photo finish, & both were sourced from someplace magical. Underneath the elvish components is rich milkshake, mild roast, slow burning wick of alcohol, with a final shot of vanilla. Fudge runs straight through it. Oily, thick, WD-40-like coating. I could drink more of this. I wonder when my wife is going out of town next. Don’t tell her.

Another world-class anniversary stout from Central Waters. I’m all warm & fuzzy; the only thing that’s bringing me down is the low level of liquid in my glass. Excellent beer.

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Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gibgink
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of warmbier804
4.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Zonian1
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of striker2160
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Shawner
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.09/5  rDev -8.9%
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 mdaschaf
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.46/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.88/5  rDev -13.6%
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 fthegiants
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cjgator3
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 302 characters

Photo of Bunuelian
4.46/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of arniepnminne
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of pagesofphotographs
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of richj1970
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
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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Eighteen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.49 out of 5 with 239 ratings