Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe AleKosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-22-2002

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Reviews: 223 | Ratings: 602
Photo of Bighuge
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


I am in the midst of a "Month of Barleywines" experiment. A different barleywine every night for 30 straight nights. With notes and a rating from 1-100. Hit this gem on Night #23. I didn't think I'd end up giving any barleywine a 100, but that's what I gave this one. Absolutely fucking perfect. Here's my thoughts:

This is one of my prized cellar possessions. I had this vintage at a brewfest 2 years ago in Ashland and it was the Top Beer of the fest in my opinion out of over 100 beers. I hope it hasn't started to take a turn over the past 2 years. But it's a BW, so I expected it not to. Let's see...

Looks pretty thick as it pours. It's murky, but yet it's got a bit of a glow to it. Scarlet red streaks cut through the deep burgandy/crimson body. Thin creamy tan head has good retention and leaves some nice lace. Ohhh the smell is great. Totally rich with caramel and toffee and molasses and bourbon and caramelized fruits. Hope this is an indication of things to come. And it is. (I DIDN'T cellar this badboy too long.) This is sublime. Such a rich texture to it. The richness just coats the tongue. Again, caramel and toffee and tropical fruits. Exquisite. Hops give some balance and a semblance of citric traits. But not a lot. And this one doesn't neet it. It's fucking perfect!! The body is about medium, maybe medium-full. Slick and easy going mouthfeel. Alcohol is barely present, but it is intergrated in a good way. WHEW!!! For me, this is it!! Out of this fucking world!! My 4th beer that I rate straight 5's.


If ever a beer was scarlet red, this is it. Very nice. And it's topped off with hefty, sticky, rocky off-white head. The aroma is deep maltiness with hints of earthy and spicy hops. Malt dominates on the nose however. There's almost a little bit of a BO odor. (No it's not the beer. I just figured out that the BO odor is stemming form the red gel coating that was used to seal the bottle cap.) The taste is exceptional. More malt than hops. Deep caramel like tones. Vinous and somewhat fruity. There's a nice subdued drying contribution. Alcohol taste is minimal. The body of this beer is medium to full. There is some bitterness in this beer, but not in the range of a Bigfoot. I'd guess more like 60-70 IBU range. It's a beautifully integrated barleywine. Central Waters is a brewery you should take note of if you're ever in Central Wisconsin.

If I'm not mistaken, this brew was prepared for the Y2K. That would make this bottle about 2 and 1/2 years old.

A Bighuge thanks to cokes for landing this Muskie for me.

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Photo of sacrelicio
4.94/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An exceptional barleywine from a jewel of Midwest brewing. The pour produces a ruddy, reddish brown liquid with a haze produced by tiny particles suspended - manna in the heaven that is this brew. An even blanket of manila foam tops the beer, with lacing that is spotty but clings modestly like barnacles on a ship's hull. The aroma is rich and decadent - buttery, raisin studded spice cake doused in rum and orange liqueur. The flavor follows the smell, but with a bracing bitterness. Cloves and orange flavored dark chocolate is interwoven in the intense hoppiness. More butter and cream notes add to the endless complexity and decadence of the palate. A unique, delicious beer. Spectacular.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up at Woodman's in Kenosha WI and poured into a Bells Hop Slam tulip glass.

A) Dark brown, shoe leather, no light shines through, one finger head, leaves lots of lacing.

S) Dark fruits, sweet bread, milled malt, no hop smell, cherry skin

T) Figs, plum skin, raisin, dark cherry juice, toasted malts, bread, and faint very faint fusel alcohol at the back of the throat.

M) Thick medium carbonation

O) Perfect example of an American/English BW. Love the BA version and can't wait for more of this!

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Photo of ChimRichels
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Hazy brown. SUPER hazy. A lighter shade of brown, a few hairs to the left of mahogany. Creamy, thick beige head holds nicely and leaves exquisite lacing. Excellent head for a 10% beer.

S - Raisins and rich dark fruits are prominent, with hearty fresh-baked bread notes in there as well. Smells sweet with some rich mulling spices in the background. Hops muted.

T - Bam. Flavor city right here. Taste is so full-bodied and rich that I don't even know where to begin. First worth noting, it is far from a nagasaki-esque bomb of hops like most american barleywines seem to be these days. That being said, the hops do provide a bit of a bite, and some earthy flavors that do nothing more than accent the malt flavors. This thing is a malt bomb. it's like eating gobs of fresh whole-grain bread dough. Beyond that, the sweetness like that of dried cherries or figs is right in there as well.

M - Perfectly smooth and fantastic. Carbonation is mild, as it should be.

O - This beer is just straight up awesome. Far better than I was expecting.... Needless to say I not only would try it again, I'm stocking up like it was bottled water on the eve of the zombie apocalypse.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.83/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep and dark mostly mahogany with a semi-darker chestnut/cherrywood mask. That's when up to a decent light source, in low light its inky black with a sliver highlight near the bottom of it mask. Firm inch high capping of lightly tanned foam that shifts itself to a moderate skimming and collar after a bit. Lace coats and sticks well with moth holey sheeting.

Aroma is a broadened deep breath of heated dark fruity malt that seeps date, prune, plum, and raisin along with some rummy molasses and dark caramel sweetness surfing about. Liquid tobacco and smokey old world maple syrup sit in there as well. Think Old Ale meets Scotch Ale?

As far as the taste goes, that's exactly what I come to embark; Old ale meets Scotch ale with an impression of a darker English barleywine. Lots of malt caresses the palate with deep and thick, lush and lofty, soft and smooth, supple and dark fruityness with an impeccable profile within its flavor character. Semi earthy and closing in on a burntish effect is date and fig soaked in dark rum with raisin, molasses, maple, and tobacco soaked in port. Emmense but incredibly well-handled warmth takes the back end and wraps it all up with just a hint to orangey tanged hoppy bitterness. Damn nice and comletely perfect with complexity, length, and balance.

Body is tantamount to that of a chewy Doppelbock while sub-casting itself as a warming Old ale of malt laden goodness. The level of smoothness is quite sublime and very supple in its thickness as its bold deepness in flavors coexist decorously along its lengthy path to its warming heart.

This stuff sinks right in and was way more drinkable then imagined as it comsumes your mind quickly with jubilated comfort.
Central Waters has one heck of a keeper of a Barleywine that really seems more like an Ole Ale of the aged J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale kind of thing. Remarkably yummy stuff!

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Photo of brian23456
4.82/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light orangish red color, small quickly dissapating off-white head and nice lacing

S- Very sweet, raisins, figs, maybe some sugar and wine scents

T- Lots of layers. Great balance of light/bright sweetness and citrusy hops. Also flavors of orange, cherries and just a little brown sugar and sherry. Aftertaste is fruity with a stronger hoppy taste. Some alcohol warmth but well hidden.

M- Light for a barleywine in my opinion, moderate level of carbonation

D- Easily drinkable considering style and the amount of flavor present. Alcohol sneaks up on you.

A very nicely done BW, great balance. Not too hoppy not too sweet, hoppiness is middle of the road as far as BW's go. Once in a while brew, outstanding flavors will destroy your palate, ina good way.

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Photo of cmoney311
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: deep amber

S: aromas of toffee, caramel and other fruity goodness

T: up front very sweet disolving into dark caramel, brown sugar and cherries.

D: a superb barley wine! a very nice treat.

Central Waters has quickly become Wisconsin's best micro-brewery.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes on 6/12/10. Split with Joe.

Poured lovely deep prune and mahogany amber with a nicely retaining animal cracker head. Exceptional clarity and brilliance. I get lots of dark fruits: raisins, currants, and a tiny hint of plum, with a touch of carob and caramel. Very mild earthy hops, barely noticeable. Flavor is very much like the aromas but with a little more caramel sweetness. Spiced rum finish. Nicely carbonated with a rich body. I wish I had more than 1 bottle.

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Photo of ZAP
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just a re-review...

Great vanilla, nougat, toffee impressions...this is my kind of BW...hops are minimal but add a little bite on the finish....awesome malt monster type BW in the flavor category...body is ok but if anything could be a little bigger..one of my favorite BW's

9-12-02/rating =4.15

Deep orange in color....white lace rims my glass...great nose....mainly darkfruits and licorice on the aroma....nice tasting Barley Wine..VERY easy drinking...body is really more medium than heavy...hops fit perfectly...not super hopped up, but fit in well...taste features the dark fruits....also some sweeter nutty characteristics (almonds?)..a real nice BW..wouldn't call it an all-time great but on the upper level...this may be one of the most underrated breweries in the country...I can't remember having anything other than good beer from them..

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Photo of Beerlover
4.71/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

I love these guys! Now up from one of my top 5 to top 3 favorite breweries of all time!! The appearance on this beer is awesome, half inch creamy khaki head, and a deep brownish crimson color that is very appealing when held up to the light. Smells very sweet and malty, hints of honey and nuttiness. The flavor profile on this beer is INTENSE! perhaps I should have given this one a few months to age and tame a bit, yowser! I get an onslaught of everything I picked up in the aroma the sweet maltiness, the subtle honey-nut flavor and some pretty strong carameliness which I love, this is one RICH beast!! I think I would have given this a perfect 5 in taste had I aged it a bit. I'm definitely going to pick up a few more of these and cellar them. Mouthfeel is a little high in carbonation for my liking in this style, like medium high, not a silky on the tongue as I would like either. One of the better examples I've had of this style. awesome

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a ruby brown with an average head. The aroma is boozy, with brown sugar, fudge, hay, maple syrup, and cumin present. The flavor is like sweet barley syrup, with maple, brown sugar, a slight sourness, mustyness, and cedar. The mouthfeel is full, but not syrupy. Overall this is an impeccably good example of an American Barleywine - rich, direct flavors, but with an enormous amount of depth. Definitely worth seeking out for Barleywine lovers.

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Photo of badbeer
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber red color with a fizzy off-white colored head leaving trace amount of lacing. Smells of caramel, dark fruits, cherries, strawberries, and hint of vanilla. Taste is much of the same, complex and sweet, but not cloying. A hint of hops is detected as well as a small amount of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel would be perfect, it's full bodied and smooth, but there is just way too much carbonation. Drinkability suffers from the carbonation levels as well; otherwise this would be a damn near perfect beer to me.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.61/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Bottle Vintage 2013

A - Muddy, tarnished brass in color, Kosmyk Charlie has a short-lived ivory foam that settles to a loose layer of bubbles that circle the glass with a halo below wispy fingers of lace.

S - A light hand of earthy hop pedals is sprinkled over gooey caramel cube melted and spun with toffee, filling the vacancy of pretzel rings while soft raisin bread absorbs warming alcohol heat. The result is a heavenly nose deserving of repeated deep whiffs.

T - Far hoppier than the aroma lets on, this barleywine transitions from a malty, English perception to a straight-up American version, hopped a bit heavier. Wood chips and dried pine needles display an earthiness with the slightest hint of sticky pine sap and slap the tongue around before the malt shows up to the party, but boy does it show up. With the same bready, sweet qualities found in the nose, the taste is layered and complex, finishing with lightly phenolic alcohol; a profile that's sure to develop over time.

M - Bitterness is the first perception to grace the tongue but the elevated malt body isn't far behind in this barleywine, bringing a full, smooth body and warming alcohol finish that leaves the tongue very dry.

O - A big beer to say the least, Central Waters' Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale balances a rich and complex English-style barleywine malt profile that explores bread slices and sweet confections with that of a hoppy American barleywine. The result is an absolutely lovely, high-octane brew that will, without a doubt, sustain anyone through the apocalypse. Be sure to stock up.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour looks like a root beer, deep amber color, clear with a tight white head.

Nose has some barrel (bourbon?) smell, with toffee and malt, very nice.

Wow, flavors from the nose come through, very deep tasting and complex, loving it, wishing already that I had more than one bottle. The finish is satisfying and dry at the end. Lingers, a great one for this style. The alcohol warms you.

The mouthfeel is silky, smooth, and not very carbonated, but just right for the style. A sipper for sure, but not over the top overpowering, just right.

Considering the weight this is very drinkable, could have another if available. I will be seeking this out again in WI, hope more is out there.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Scoot1969, thanks

Pour is a dark chestnut brown with a healthy nearly overflowing head of dark brown.

Aroma of sweet barleywine, sweet malt, piney hops and citrus hop presence.

Taste is caramel central. Plenty of dark roasted caramel malts with sweet specialty malts. Comparably, I would say this is similar in the caramel flavors to Bigfoot except with a clearly longer boil time resulting in more leathery rich lathered caramel. This is a nice thick heavy malt based barleywine that I could really enjoy more of. Considering that this is only 10%, I could have expected it to have less caramel and malt flavors. Really this is a fantastic barleywine that is much thicker and more full bodied than many other barleywines of this size.

Thick body, light carbonation; overall a great barleywine that I can highly recommend.

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Photo of Vancer
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classic BW sent by joe1510 in a great trade, Salud!

Pure BW style in every sense - caramel pour with tan head, even with the alcohol it lays a lace ring down the snifter.

Great bw aroma, full of caramel and sweet malts, perfect to a tee. Sweet malt start in the quaff finishes with a healthy kick of hops, aged, it seems, with oak added to the mix.

One tries to sip this tasty treat, but you'll find yourself picking up the glass at a quick pace.

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Photo of alexgash
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle of this in Madison, today, on my way to MN. Is this really leftover from 2000??? If so, then this is 6+ years old. Let's see about that. Pours a ruddy amber with a darker center. Finger of dense, clingy, off-cream head soon recedes to a film with minor lacing. Rich malts of toffee and butterscotch mix with rum and bourbon. Candied fruits and herbal hops round out the nose. Scorched caramel and toasted bitterness flavors lead off. Herbal bitterness follows. Rich, sweetish malts mid-palate come in and make this beer great. Bread pudding, butterscotch, candied fruits, and oak. Herbal bitterness closes the door, but the finish shows glimmers of butterscotch, madeira, and vanilla. Medium-full body with a tingly, yet creamy feel. If this is from 2000 then it has aged very well. Smooth and incredibly balanced. Should have bought more I guess!

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Photo of ejquin
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby hued with thin white head that fades to some tiny bubbles around the rim.

A: Heavy dark brown sugar, figs, plum, rasins, molassesslight oakiness

T/M:Firdt off, the mouthfeel is perfect. Rich and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Taste is wonderful. I'm not sure how old this one is, but so smooth. Very nice hopiness balanced by a ton of malt fading to a spicy finish where the alcohol peaks through. It's defintely there, but well hidden for a 10%er.

Ovr: I'm not a huge Barlywine fan, but this is pobably the bet I've had. It was just perfectly in balance, nothing getting out of whack. The hops just encroaching on too much, and then fading, the malt laying down a nice backbone. Really great beer.

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Photo of Strix
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage - drinking quite nice right now.

Pours a cloudy orange-brown, decent initial head, leaves a long-lasting ring of lace, some sediment in the bottom of the glass.

Quite malty and bready in the noise, hints of raisin and vanilla.

Nice complexity. Bread, alcohol, raisin, oak, vanilla. Lingering dark chocolate hoppy note.

Silky mouthfeel.

This was stellar, and hits all the things I like in an American barleywine. Central Waters continues to impress me, particularly with their bigger and darker beers. Seek this out.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notch next to the DEC and bottle dated 2011

A= Pours a very very hazy amber color that looks like a deep brown in the glass. A small finger of head comes up and falls to a thin skin on top of the glass with a decent amount of lacing.

S= Smells like a barleywine. Strong caramel malts and toffee in it. A good sweetness to it that comes through. Not much in the name of hops sort of an english barleywine aroma. The deeper I dig the more it smells like a bag of sunflower seeds...

T= The taste is most excellent. It almost tastes like there is a bit of wood despite there being no wood. A nice caramel malt character and a little bitterness from hops despite there being no hop flavor. It's hard to tag this one just right but it's good.

M= Perfection in a barleywine. The carbonation allows the flavors to linger yet is able to lift any food away.

O= This is actually a really good beer. I loved the barrel aged version and this is just as good. The stouts were a bit of a disspointment but this is great. Great job CW keep it up.

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Photo of Jparker37
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass. Served around cellar temp. Bottled in November 2012.

A - Smaller off-white head from a gentle pour. Brilliant clarity to the brown beer showing red highlights. Left a nice amount of lacing.

S - Caramel smell fights many delicious aromas here. I've got some toffee and biscuity tones beside a bit of vanilla. Alcohol is in the mix with some faint citrus hops.

T - Caramel malt is in there with a nuttiness early on lending a mild amount of sweetness. Chocolate malt roastiness leeds into a perfect meld of hop bitterness and smooth alcohol warmth. Left with a nice drying effect and vanilla-alcohol presence.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation, semi-dry.

O - I enjoyed this take on the American Barleywine style. I liked that it wasn't overridden with hops but focused more on balance. The vanilla tones lended great complexity and hops met the alcohol head on.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

A: deep opaque amber-brown; foam a few fingers high on top; plenty of lace left behind

S: sweet chewy caramels and toffee with herbal and floral accents; something piney and something earthy

T: lotsa of chewy caramel malts and big pine hops; caramelized figs and dates and orchard fruits; sweet toffee and whole grain

M: big and lush, smooth and chewy, medium-full body, fuzzy soft carbonation

O: a great American barleywine with lots of big flavors and feel - ranks with the best out there - not to be passed up on.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love a nice barleywine in the spring.

Pours bright orange with a lively cream colored head thats sticks around like an unwanted house guest.

Smell: Brown Sugar, hint of citrus, a dash of alcohol.

Taste: Caramel, earthy, bitter citrus, a little alcohol. Pretty full bodied and filling.

Not sure how old this is, but I don't find the alcohol to be overpowering, I think it melds pretty well.

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Photo of joe1510
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle
Steve's Liquor, Madison

Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K pours with a ton of tiny sediment that in this case (and this case only in my expierence) add to the looks of this brew. The sediment is perfectly suspended throughout the ruby elixer and the light seems to bounce off every tiny little particle creating a snow-globe like effect. Very cool. A one finger ecru head forms on the pour that fades to a half finger but surprisingly stays put for the entirety. Leaves drink lines with each sip. This is a great looking barleywine.

The aroma has a solid amount of fruit present. Among layer after layer of malt goodness. Mild rum soaked raisins linger in the background along with prunes and a hint of dates occasionally. The malts steal the show. Caramel and toffee dominate. There's a slight peat like smokiness that only shows itself every now and then. Vanilla. cream, and a ghostly oakiness waft through the air as well. Spicy alcohol toward the backend.

This is a malt bomb of a beer with the needed alcohol backing. Caramel kicks things off and there's a surprising spicy hop kick quickly following. The hops actually linger throughout the drink and into the swallow leaving a nice moderate bitterness. I'm surprised the hops are as prominant as they are with none being detected in the nose. Heavy caramel leads througout with waves of toffee, vanilla, mild oak, and spicy alcohol on the swallow. Excellent!

First few sips gave me the impression of a syrupy sticky mouthfeel. As I drink on the mouthfeel becomes much more lush and velvety. The stickiness is there on the swallow but the body is extremely luxurious on the tongue.

This is a sipping brew with the big alcohol and complexities but it seems to open more the longer you sip. I'd be content sipping the night away with this one.

Another impressive beer from Central Waters. Excellent barleywine with layer upon layer of flavor. Continues to open more and more as it warms.

Reviewed: 9/29/07

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Photo of Atron67
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this at the old fashioned in madison tongiht

A- came a redish dark brown with a light head that faded down to a film quickly

S- pungent malts throughout some fruitiness but heavy malts, with a decent backing of malts, but doesnt really smell like a hop driven barleywine

T- Spicey malts throughout, deliciousness all over, reminds me of old guardian barleywine, hops throughout but is a malt driven monster

M- pretty thick but i wouldnt have guessed it was carrying a 10 % abv in it

D- awesome

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Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 602 ratings.
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