Ardea Insignis
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Ardea InsignisArdea Insignis
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Stout - American Imperial
not listed
4.55 | pDev: 6.37%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Ardea InsignisArdea Insignis
Notes: Ardea Insignis
The rarest heron in the world. Also the name of the rarest barrel aged beer we have ever made and bottled. An imperial stout aged for over 3 years in 25 year old bourbon barrels. 1000 bottles produced.
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 106 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep black color with a small foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- the most bourbon-forward stout I've smelled; tons of barrel, toasted coconut, vanilla. Undertones of roasted malt, chocolate & alcohol

T- taste follows aroma, bourbon dominant up front with tons of toasted coconut, vanilla & caramel. Mid-palate gives notes of chocolate and roast. The finish gives more bourbon that dominates the flavor and lingers of barrel juice

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly viscous mouthfeel and a warming finish

O- extending aging in bourbon barrels makes this a bourbon-heavy beer that is sure to please bourbon drinkers, quite unique

Aug 20, 2017
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Angerhaus from Rhode Island

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I can't really add too much to what's already been written, and if you're smart then you've already read the rest of it. I will say that it's very similar to Black Gold, just a little boozier.

Apr 24, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

about as good as it gets, if people knew about this, and what it tasted like, they would freak out about it like they do the goose bourbon county rare, the old one in the pappy barrels, its every bit as good as that one, if not even moreso, its just astounding. 3 years in a 25 year old bourbon barrel, i mean, how insane can you get. i thought black gold was insane, this is even a level beyond that. seriously almost as much a solid as it is a liquid, a patient near black color that seems so viscous its almost gelatinous, like it might not spill if i tipped over my glass, may hold its shape like a cake mold or something, syrupy for sure, just so concentrated and intense. the maturity of the bourbon barrels is immediately evident here, with this real regal refined sort of whiskey quality in the nose that also comes through in the flavor, the good vanilla beans, the decaying oak, the charcoal complexion of it, so awesome. the stout itself too is quite mature at this point, with all of the wood soaked in, an incredible dark chocolate crumbly high cacao vibe, and subtle raisin, toasted coconut, and unlit cigar of fine quality. layers upon layers here, is it slides around the teeth and tongue and finally down the hatch, coating every nook, chocolate again, fresh scraped vanilla pod, whiskey i cant afford, and all in this shockingly smooth glide, thick as toothpaste though, and never fading in the aftertaste. i do not care the least that this is pretty boozy, with all this whiskey character, how could it not be? thats not a valid critique of this one in my opinion. heavy but not sludgy, its an appealing weight to me. as mature and refined as big beer gets i think, and some of the very best stout that exists. i pray to encounter it again one day...

Mar 29, 2017
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Gambyt20 from Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very boozy on the nose and pretty much full on bourbon scent with subtle wood/oak tones. Taste is also very bourbon forward with a nice aged oak/wood earthly undertone. Could mellow out in couple years after being in barrels for 3 years, but still really great BA stout with nice complex barrel flavors. Maybe more balanced over time, hope to revisit in years to come but to likely seeing how hard it was to land this whale.

Mar 28, 2017
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark pour with light brown medium head.

S: Delicious chocolate, wrapped in oak and bourbon.

T: A fantastic splash of sweet chocolate, transitioning to a perfectly restrained bourbon barrel flavor that takes over the palate.

M: Less viscous than desired.

O: This is the best bourbon barrel treatment I have ever had on a beer. Simply put, this beer did what Rare 2015 could not, which was to restrain the barrel character to compliment, not take over, the base stout. The mouthfeel was a bit thin in comparison to other whale stouts, so overall, I think this beer lands in the "great" category without fully catapulting into Moby Dick territory.

Mar 26, 2017
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: pours thick and black, no head
S: huge barrel and bourbon. Smooth bourbon.
T: really good, big bourbon. Hot booze actually. 3 years in 25 year old bourbon barrels, big booze as expected.
F: smooth but a ton of booze.

Mar 25, 2017
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rabbott2 from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 1 released in spring 2016

Look-medium lace. Black. Not overly thick. Surprisingly decently sized head, light tan

Smell-straight boozy whiskey and oak

Taste-heavy whiskey and oak. Very sweet chocolate. Overly sweet

Feel- Thin and drinkable. Kinda creamy. Booze does not come through with heat

Overall-very very good beer. I am, however, shocked that this won the ratebeer best beer of 2016.

Mar 17, 2017
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest. A small three ounce sample pour into a tulip style glass. Poured clear dark brown with a smallish head that dissipated immediately. Beautiful aroma of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Flavor is almost sherry like, with the bourbon out front, oak and vanilla there as well. Thin for a stout but overall an enjoyable beer.

Mar 12, 2017
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CraigP83 from Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beer i was pumled to try but ultimately disappointed in the hype. Its a boozy barrel heavy stout. Quite hot not bad but not worth 200 a bottle

Mar 12, 2017
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Josholson666 from Minnesota

4.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Easily the strongest whisky presence I've ever had in a beer. Look is dark as night, mocha-ish head. Nose and taste is strong barrel, as it should be. It is remarkable in its barrel presence, it dominates yet there is plenty of balance. A true landmark beer.

Mar 12, 2017
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MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

CW has one of the most underrated barrel programs in the world and as usual, this did not disappoint. Likely the best beer of theirs Ive ever had. Tons of delicious flavor along with one of the best and smoothest barrel character Ive had the pleasure to drink. If you have the means to secure one, do it; it will be worth it!

Mar 06, 2017
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JISurfer from South Carolina

4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always a fan of Central Waters, their barrel aged beers are some of the better ones I've had on a consistent basis. This one was the best one I've had from them. Excellent barrel character, without being overly hot and boozy. Not sure how they did that, but I'm a fan!

Mar 03, 2017
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Kurmaraja from California

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Claims of hotness must come from folks that don't actually drink spirits. This doesn't give of fusel heat; one of the purest expressions of barrel I've found in the imperial stout world, akin to the greatness that was Pugachev's 25. (Which, I'm just realizing, also had that 25 year old barrel). Lots of char, oak, cedar (perhaps this is me conflating the timber + tobacco element and confabulating cedar ... but there is that spice box combo, crackling with rye and vanilla). Flavor hits you with blackstrap molasses, that dark mineral element, wrapped in a lighter nougat and tootsie roll that's never sticky. The body is creamy, not coating ... but that dark wood and spirit flavor dances and lingers almost limitlessly. Dings for lack of flabbiness and pudding skin thickness miss the point that this is the perfect chassis to drive those barrels deep into your sense organs. Superlative.

Jan 13, 2017
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TheStoutHound from Wisconsin

4.77/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ardea has some very unique and delicious barrel character that dominates the beer. Yeah it's hot, I'd be disappointed if it wasn't. In comparison to 2015 Rare, it has the same level of flavor, but the smell and mouth feel isn't on the same level. It definitely has a great aroma to it, but it doesn't fill a room like Rare does. I feel if it had a thicker base, the flavors would hang around longer. Overall, this is great stout from CW and if it weren't for availability and price, I would acquire more.

Oct 23, 2016
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StoutSnob40 from California

3.52/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jesus Christ.. I guess it's too boozy for me. It is pure booze. The smell is so hot, it burns my nose. I want to love this beer, but I can't. It's hot and brutal.

Sep 11, 2016
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mjpolzin from Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A damn fine barrel aged beer from CW. But if I'm being honest it did not live up to the hype nor the price point. My biggest nitpick would be that it was too hot. Maybe with age this will mellow.

Aug 16, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle. Served in a wine glass. Pours a dark black body, opaque with a one finger mocha head, short retention, bits of lacing but otherwise the head disappears fairly quickly. Smell is essentially clean bourbon barrel- vanillin, oak, dark fruit, along with dark chocolate, a bit of char, evocative of fudge brownies too. Smells great. Flavour is a really nice chocolate fudge with bourbon and oak, vanillin. Seems to be a fair bit of dark fruit presence as well, which makes this a bit more interesting than most. Nice complexity, overall a big bourbon barrel presence, which is no surprise. Mouthfeel is medium bodied; seems to be a bit thin compared to what the barrel brings, but it's probably good enough that the body is able to stand up to the barrel. Good carbonation, slightly sticky and coating the mouth, a pleasant drinking experience. An overall excellent barrel aged imperial stout with a lot of barrel, but the base seems to be able to hold up to the extended aging experience more than its Black Gold cousins, and offering a larger but similar experience that their anniversary beers like 16 and 18 do.

Aug 15, 2016
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Raziel313 from California

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Cons: Mouth feel is way way too thin, borderline water. Really wish it had a creamy texture that could have helped with the other problem with this brew which is that it's just too hot right now. I'd love to revisit this in about a year

Pros: The barrel is pretty unique that it gives you the flavor profile of like a sherry and port barrel which I love. The flavors are very complex to the point were I kind of just forgot about the mouth feel at some point and just enjoyed this beast

Aug 04, 2016
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FourBetter from Minnesota

4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Moonless midnight black with a tan sliver of head.
Nose is boozy at first, followed by vanilla, chocolate and oak,
Taste takes the baton and continues to deliver rich cocoa, vanilla and a subtle coffee-like bitterness.
Mouthfeel is smooth and heavy - weighs nicely on tongue and leaves a fantastic vanilla aftertaste that makes you want another sip.
Great beer from Central Waters - I'd rank ahead of Black Gold in a photo finish. Really wish I'd gotten a bottle or two myself.

Jul 11, 2016
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mothman from Minnesota

4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Black with a little tan head. Leaves legs.

Huge oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Marshmallow. Rich chocolate and a light roast. Light alcohol heat.

Full bodied. Very smooth. Warming. Ends with some coffee roast.

Great stout. Didn't think cw could do much better than black gold, but this does it.

Jul 09, 2016
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jakemn91 from New Mexico

4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Jack for sharing this!

Pours a dark black with essentially no head.
Aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla.
Taste is rich. Semi-sweet chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, slight raisin. Very good.
Full bodied.

Jul 09, 2016
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gatornation from Minnesota

4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Split this bottle 3 ways everyone enjoyed this offering, Poured dark black with a slow forming but staying head, smell was great its mature barrel smell with musty dank oak mixed with very strong mellow bourbon , taste is strong bourbon with great wood/oak flavors this BA is nothing ive tasted from CW very strong but very smooth, roasted malts and some chocolate but this one is about the barrel , mouth feel was thin but the flavor so strong, overall loved this offering for the BA the wood and the mellowness

Jun 28, 2016
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Abbbp from Texas

4.08/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No doubt this ole bird is old, and aged, and all those things that are normal with the typically awesome barrel aging program at central waters- but the problem is it's just too thin, and boozy, and kind of a mess. Maybe it needs more development time or whatever, I like Black Gold better and more bang for the buck.

Jun 20, 2016
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mrn1ceguy from Illinois

4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Barrel, Barrel, Barrel. Like rare (2015), the barrel masks / covers-up the beer almost entirely. This is a fantastic barrel so it's very enjoyable, but the nose, taste, feel and everything is all barrel at this point.

Jun 12, 2016
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kkleu357 from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you to Kyle C for opening this for us on Saturday. Very much appreciated!

Appearance: Dark black with minimal lacing. Appeared slightly thicker than other CW stouts.

Aroma: Big bold barrel aroma. Cocoa, vanilla, oak. Interestingly, I didn't pick up on the "normal" CW aroma all CW stouts seem to have.

Taste: Rich oak, whisky, toffee, cocoa, flavors with a hint of vanilla notes. Here I did get that "normal" CW taste. Nothing wrong with that, I do enjoy the CW house taste and smell. Probably too much going on in the aroma for me to pick that up there.

Overall: An amazing beer! Loved it! Quite possibly the best CW beer I've had. Would need to compare side by side with CW16 to see what my favorite is, but I'm doubting I'll ever get that chance.

May 23, 2016
Ardea Insignis from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 106 ratings