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 Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A well-crafted barleywine, a little helpful cellaring by Derek. Good barleywine aroma. Ruby with lace. The taste is dry and woody, particularly so in the finish. A touch of bourbon, a touch of chocolate. Does not seem like 10%. Satisfying above-average barlywine.Nice balance.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with tasty sticky sugar forward qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out as a nice amber color with a decent white head on top. The smell of the beer is malty with a hoppy aroma. The taste is also loaded with toasted caramel malt and hops. It's piney with a sweetness in the background. The mouthfeel is smooth, nicely carbonated and slick. Overall this beer is pretty damn good. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color. It poured a short beige colored head that died down, leaving wispy lacing covering the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts and toffee are present in the nose. Hints of alcohol also become perceptible once the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of toffee and has notes of caramel malts along with slight hints of alcohol. Some vanilla also becomes apparent once the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer develops nice flavors as it warms up and the alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks very nice pouring into a wide-mouthed chalice. A husky brown-amber tone, capped by a half-inch of tan foam. Dense and creamy, with an outcropping of larger bubbles from a high-altitude pour.

Sweet toffee, leafy hops, an undisclosed herb or berry. While it's still cool, there's not much indication of the booze. As it warms, it becomes more prevalent.

Inital toffee caramel sweetness, that segues into seriously bitter hops. Dryness rides out into a long finish. More herbal than pine, juicy, not too fruity though. Some peaty smoke and toasted malt comes out in the aftertaste. Mild astringency for such a huge behemoth of a Barleywine. It doesn't become cloying, but it does deserve to be sipped very slowly. One and done, a nice nightcap.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.69/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded gold pressure cap and straightforward no-nonsense black label acquired in a trade from the very gracious Duff27 (who you should definitely trade with!) and served into my brand new Mitchells of Lancaster flared tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. 2012 Vintage; bottled in November. That makes this five months old; should be tasty. Expectations are high given the brewery, whose stouts I have enjoyed.

I chilled her a biteen in me fridge, but I don't like my barleywines too cold so I yanked her out after no more than fifteen minutes. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a two finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good (~5-6+ minute) retention for the high ABV. I loved the look of the liquid as I poured, and I dig its understated, refined appearance in my glass. Body colour is a lovely translucent amber with light orange hues. Semitransparent. That's the kind of colour and tone a barleywine should have. Not vibrant or flashy, just classy and understated. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Ideal even lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes. A fine looking beer for the style, and one that conceals its high ABV rather well. I'm impressed, and looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Light toasted malt. Deep floral hopping clings well to the malty base. Biscuit malt. Caramel. Toffee. Pine and maple wood. Unrefined sugars. Sure, graham cracker a bit. Sugar and resiny. A dash of candi sugar. Light raisin. A biteen hop forward for a barleywine, but pleasant and appealing across the board. It's not overwhelming or pungent; it matches the vibe of the appearance with an understated classiness. Above average to mild in strength. I'm looking forward to trying it. I do want more toasted character and caramel from it.

T: Resiny. More sweet than expected, especially as it approaches the climax. Buried caramel. Buried toffee. It's not as refined as the great beers I've had in the style; it comes off a bit young, actually. Good floral hopping with hints of pine and maybe crackers - though I'm always hesitant to claim a beer is cracker-flavoured. Not as malt-emphatic as I'm used to. The candi character is a bit too prominent here; I imagine this would fade and develop nicely with age. Marshmallow. A bit burnt. I do like it, and it drinks damn easily for 10%. I'd guess it was 7% tops. A bit of bitterness comes through on the finish. It has some subtlety, but it's not quite as complex as the best beers in the style. Well layered.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nicely thick without being overbearing. Ideally carbonated. Good presence on the palate. Good body. Great for a barleywine, and it suits the flavour quite well. Well-executed.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the high ABV, which is very well hidden. I'm a big fan of what this is trying to do, but I think a good two years of age would benefit it; even at five months it's too candied and sweet. I enjoyed it as a sipper because it's worthy of respect. I'd like to revisit this with 2-5 years on it. A solid barleywine that isn't without its flaws. Looking forward to trying the bourbon barrel barleywine from Central Waters soon. Thanks again, Duff27!

Lowish B+

01.06.16 Impression of a 2013 vintage bottle:

Fruity and boozy - way more so than I remember. Alcohol heat is evident...this is fusel. Overly sweet as well.

Age wasn't kind to this...


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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, reddish orange color with a small, white, foamy head. It left some patchy lace.

S - It smelled sweet and malty with some nice floral notes.

T - It tasted rich and sweet. Nice caramel malt flavors with a nice hoppy, bitter kick. It had some subtle dried fruit flavors with a warm alcohol taste.

M - It was soft and smooth with a fairl y sharp finish. A medium bodied beer with a warm boozy presence.

D - This is a very good barleywine. It had some nice complex flavors.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Color is amber with some reddish hues throughout. Slight head and a bit of lacing. Nose is really quite nice with cherries, dark fruits, citrus, plum skin, and some sweet bread. Taste is cherries, sweet malt, hints of booze, and a thy amount of citrus zest. Good feel with excellent drinkability. It's no surprise that BBBW has such a fantastic base.

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Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this beauty thanks to KeefB. No date on the bottle.

Pours a creamy rich head, frothy, that fades slowly, leaving an outline lacing. The beer lets just a little light through, with a very dark rosy maroon brown, almost a burnt sienna color.

Nose brings plenty of barleywine aromas, lots of malts, lots of malted barley! Seems like some sweetness too, a little maple and hints of molasses, syrupy aromas. Malts include dark heavy crystal, some light roast, and the faintest hint of smoke. Light fruits, with a little raisin and plum, and hints of booze. A light hint of earthy chewy hops in the background as well.

Taste brings more of the same, with lots of malts to start, loaded with malted barley! Slight juicy flavors, little fruit again. Malts include dark crystal, little roast, a little toffee, caramel, maple, a little molasses, and even a little creamy. It's pretty sweet too, with just a hint of warming booze, which builds as it warms. Slightly chewy malt flavor too. I even get a bit of berry flavor. A candy flavor too. Some light bitterness, some light earthy hops, but not a lot. The finish leaves a sticky mouth coating, with hints of warming booze and still pretty sweet. Some lingering malty flavors, and a little fruit as well.

Mouth is fairly heavier bodied, syrupy, and decent carbonation.

The drinkability is a little lower, although it drinks well for 10%, but with some of the sticky syrupy feels, and quite a bit of sweetness take away a bit from it.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006. Slightly hazy. Deep auburn headed towards chestnut color. Huge rocky head of light tan. Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is malty. Very sweetly caramelish. Toffeeish... do I detect some mild buttery diacetyl under there? Nice. There's a touch of yeasty mineralish character as well. Citrusy hops come through once the head subsides a little bit. In the mouth it's full bodied with an initial zestiness on the tongue. Once warm, however, it becomes more dextrinous and creamy. The flavor is aggressive. Lots of hops and bitterness atop the sweet caramel malt base. Citrusy and piney. Sweet malt combines and softens the citrus. There's some orange, grapefruit, and pineapple. The bitterness is dense, and cuts through the sweet malt with a piney-hop chainsaw before it even gets mid-palate. Rough edges, but cooling, and refreshing. It finishes mainly dry, and piney, with a cooling, minty edge - although there is still a thin strand of sticky caramel left behind. A caramel-coated pinecone! In conclusion... some like it rough! And if that's the case this one's a rarin' ta go! - and I mean that in a good way. I can only assume that that's the way this was intended to be. Soft, sweet caramel and then BAM!!! piney-juicy PUNCH! Nice!!! But for those who like it a bit more rounded you'll need a year or two in the cellar on this one. I enjoyed it, sip by sip, with my feet propped in front of the fire... ah, err, space heater ;)

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, garnet-hued body topped by a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, toasted caramel, oranges, and juiced plums with a few boozey hints and more than a few hints of wood.

Taste: Toasted caramel maltiness that's sweet, baby, even candyishly so. More of that wood from the aroma. Faint plum fruitiness. Hint of orange liqueur. Medium-high hop bitterness. Warming bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Not quite a medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not as graceful as some of the finer examples of the style, but overall it's not a bad lil' barleywine.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Electric orange with a near equal amount of candy apple red. What a stunning color! A fine yeasty haze and few bubbles can be seen within the body of the barleywine. Something has to be sustaining the pearlescent cap of milkshake creamy foam. What a great look.

The aroma puts the brakes on the proceedings, while easily avoiding a head-on collison. It's nice and fruity, earthier than most, and betrays more than a hint of alcohol. A double digit ABV is notoriously hard to bury without a trace, although some breweries manage to do it.

My first thought was that this big brew could use more time in the cellar. Without a 'bottled on' date, it's impossible to know, but I'm thinking that it's from 2007. While there is a list of months along the side of the label, none of them are notched. Without a year, what good is the month?

The alcohol should continue to fade as Charlie loses his slight starting chill, but it probably won't disappear completely. That's okay, since barleywines need to retain some surliness or they wouldn't be barleywines. The biggest reason that more rest would be good is because the flavors need time to meld more completely.

The flavor profile includes candied orange peel soaked in white rum, cherry pipe tobacco, caramel, and a leafy woodsiness. With less heat, this would be an immensely enjoyable ale. Maybe it's the alcohol talking, but the flavor score just got bumped up.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. The solvent-like nature of the unmasked alcohol isn't helping. Despite the 'All Quiet on the Carbonation Front' look of things, there are enough fine bubbles to keep the beer energized to the appropriate degree.

Central Waters Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale is anything but a catastrophe (much like Y2K itself). Don't let my impatience to drink it dissuade you from buying it. Just don't make the mistake of drinking it before it's ready.

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Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a caramel brown color with a thin white lacing sticking to the edges of the glass. What head was there lasted pretty well into drinking it, and left some moderate lacing as well.

The aroma has a lot of sweeter, dark fruit flavors to it. I get a lot of fig and plum with just a bit of a tropical, pineapple, fruitiness as well. Some malty, caramel and toffee flavors peek through as well. A little on the sweet side overall though.

The taste shows a lot of the sweet, dark fruit flavors that I got in the nose. I get a little more of the sweet, pineapple to it right off the bat. Some sugary coated, fig and plum flavors come out as well. Just a bit of caramel and toffee are there. The finish has a juicy, tropical fruit, orange like flavor to it. Again, definitely falls on the sweet side.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it was a decent beer but fell a little too far on the sweet side for me. It did had a very interesting juicy flavor to it with some orange juice like qualities, which I liked. It could have used a little more balance for me though. Interesting beer and a decent one to drink this evening, but not quite an outstanding one of the style in my opinion.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thick brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew, I would not mind having another and certainly kept me warm this evening.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Mark.

A: The beer pours a cloudy dark amber color with a finger of off-white head.

S: Nice sweet nose with plenty of toffee and caramel, maybe a bit of brown sugar. Sweet and toasted bread with only a mild citrus hop note. Slight notes of oxidation, too.

T: As with the aroma, plenty of sweet, sugar notes. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar are prominent. There's a bit more citrus, particularly grapefruit, with some light pine bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation.

O: Not as good as the world famous Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, but still pretty nice.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a chalice at Local Option.

Well, if I ever miss the bottle release of certain harder-to-find CW offerings, I need to remember my boys at Local Option... Anyway, this stuff pours a slightly murky garnet topped by a half-finger of wan khaki foam. The nose comprises sye bread, sweet caramel, light toffee, mild rum, light fig, light raisin, light candied orange peel, and a strong boozy backdrop. The taste brings in more of the same, with the bread coming through a bit stronger, the candied fruit as well, and the booze hanging around long enough to have its presence felt with every sip. Luckily, it's somehow not overpowering. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly drying finish. Overall, a solid, strong b-wine, something I could easily see being used as a body warmer in the dead of winter.

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wasatch for this!

Pours orangeish amber with some rose hues and a thin off-white head that becomes wispy. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee, brown sugar, tropical fruits - esp. mango - with pine/resin. There's a touch of bitter cocoa and some plum. Complex and inviting.

The taste is of caramel/toffee with a tropical fruitiness - mango, esp. and pine. There is a rum-like fruity booziness to it. A slight roast and a bitterness give the sweetness balance.

The body is silky, but on the thinner/more carbonated side of the style.

Despite abv, this drinks very well. Nice fruity/slightly piney touch, along with the caramel/toffee, that lingers. A very enjoyable, solidly American, Barleywine.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Central Waters Brewing Company, Inc. Brewers Reserve Kosmyk Charlie's Y2K Catastrophe Ale Barley-wine Style Ale. Amherst, WI.

Y2K? Wasn't that 13 years ago? What's going on here? I thought I'd had this before, but there's no evidence of it. I must've had it when I wasn't taking notes. Or maybe I'm out of my damned mind. A resurrection of an old ale beyond it's enjoy by date? Okay.
Let's get to this bottle already…

Look of it: Deep crimson coloring, large, lush creamy-toned head, lovely stuff.

Smell of it: ridiculously rich, deep, dark and crazily delicious. Dark fruit, cherry, berry, brandy, leather, luscious and massively malty,

Tasting it: Luxurious. Expansive. Full to bursting. Malt to the max, hops a plenty. It's all going on. It's giving me all the things I want in a barley-wine. Should I age this? Isn't it already 13 years old? The bottled on says: nothing? There seems to be some marks somewhere around November, but it's not clear. (There are similar random markings around June, July, and August.) It's like there are some random scratchings in the direction of that particular square. And I don't remember when I bought it, it's been sitting around waiting for me to take these notes for months.

Let's see what the label tell us: "Originally designed for the Y2K survival kit, this beer has proven to be a staple for anyone's emergency plan. Kosmyk Charlie's is a delightful treat, aged for a year in our cellars to create brew smooth enough to overcome any disaster. So when homeland security raises the alert level, open a Kosmyk Charlie's and raise your glass."

Interesting. The Y2K threat is long gone, but one thing has appeared since then that we didn't have in 2000, or 1999, and that''s Homeland Security and alert levels. That's it, let's celebrate the latest tragedy.

All in all, a toasty, malty, high alcohol (none given on the label, I'm only guessing). treat, to be sure. Fits all the marks of a true barleywine.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a few of these in Kenosha - shared with the wife in matching FOBAB pint glasses.

A - I managed to get a half-finger's worth of tan foam that actually lingered for a bit. Negligible lacing over a slightly murky raisin brown color. This is about as good as it gets for a high-gravity barleywine.

S - Maple syrup, caramel, red licorice, raisin, smoke, wood, vanilla - really complex collection of malts in here. This is fresh, so there is still a mild amount of citrusy hops (although nowhere on the level of something like 3F Behemoth). Maybe a touch of alcohol esters in there.

T - Again, lots of caramel, maple syrup, raisins, brown sugar, etc. The citrus hop notes I detected in the smell are mostly gone, with maybe the tiniest bit lingering in the aftertaste. Alcohol is well-hidden. The taste is good, but not as wonderfully complex as the smell.

M - Big and sticky - full-bodied but not overly heavy. There's some tingle on the upper lip, but I think it's from the high ABV and not the carbonation - in any case it complements the wood and smoke notes in the smell. Some nice warming sensations.

D - One of these is plenty - it's a sipper to be sure. That being said I did find myself reaching for the glass pretty frequently.

Worth seeking out - the base beer for the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine stands up quite well on its own.

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Photo of Duff27
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Inch-tall mid-tan head on a opaque dark ruby red beer. Well above average head retention and wonderful drink-by-drink step lacing, really cool layering effect.

S- Smell is of burnt brown sugar, dark fruits, and booze....gives me a hard-on D:

T- Sweetness coming from a brown sugar-esque taste. Hops are there but aren't prominent. Quick alcohol heat hits at the end of each sip, besides that Y2K is very smooth.

M-Medium mouthfeel. Well integrated carbonation that's on the lower side of things.

D/O- Very solid barleywine from Central Waters. The whole time I was drinking this I thought "this would be a great candidate for barrel aging"...go figure, hah. Thanks a ton Brian (4DAloveofSTOUT) for headin' up to cheeseheadville to snatch this up for me!

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm pretty sure this beer isn't retired, but anyways. It's a very mellow barleywine, more English in inspiration, but there's a American kick to the hops. The grassy, spicy hops actually are almost an aftertaste, but still standout from the hops. The malt are slight with a vanilla-oak taste, not much fruit. Worth a try.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Will last night.

Pours an amber-red, with a small quarter inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like wood, astringent booze, caramel and toffee.

I got a lot more booze out of this than everybody else, which is weird. It seemed astringently bitter, both from alcohol, and leafy hops. The caramel and toffee, slight dark fruits, in the malt backbone were nice, though. It just seemed a little messy and muddled at times.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonation. This is a pretty slow sipper and not all that drinkable.

I feel like my opinion runs against what most people think about this one- I just didn't enjoy it all that much.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage.

A - Deep amber with a thin layer of taupe coloured head.

S - Rich toffee, raisins, dark caramel and figs.

T - Rich toffee, caramel, raisins, figs and a hint of chocolate. A big hop profile cuts through the sweetness but doesn't add much aside from a touch of pine. Warming alcohol presence throughout.

M - Full body. Viscous. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to brdc for this brew.

Poured into a tulip a cool looking golden cherry amber color, very nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger off-white head, some nice little islands and sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, cherry, plums, figs, and some caramel. The taste is slighlty sweet, malty, very nice tones of cherries/plums/figs, with some nice caramel. Medium body, a complex brew. This one goes down pretty smooth/easy. The alcohol is hidden very well, be careful, lol Very drinkable, another tasty brew from CW. Thanks Daniel.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours a dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is dark fruit, caramel malt, sugar and some alcohol. The flavor is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, alcohol and dark fruit. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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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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