Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout
Central Waters Brewing Co.

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,274
Ranked #19,469
3.87 | pDev: 11.37%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout
Notes: We throw 75 pounds of tart Door County cherries into each oak barrel with a rich imperial stout, then age it 6 months.
Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 880 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout pours an almost black color, with a very small, tan, non lacing head. Aroma is rich and sweet, hints of cherries and syrup. Flavor has hints of oak, cherries, molasses. Good body and feel. Overall, a very rich stout, great smooth sipping flavors.

Dec 31, 2020
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Eapressocycle from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Reviews here are all over the map, which makes me think this might not be a very consistent brew (or sensitive to storage issues). Mine poured with a limited head that quickly vanished. It's muddy and opaque, with a thin mouth feel that's more like a porter. The alcohol hits like a ton of bricks with not much sweetness to balance it out. Nose is basically cherry brandy with birthday cake. Overall, this is really lacking in my opinion. Tastes like someone dropped a shot in a beer.

Nov 12, 2020
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jkblr from Indiana

3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle coded 34419 (12/10/19 - nearly one year old) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp, no ABV listed on label. The beer pours very dark brown with red tinted mocha head. The head recedes to an irregular fluffy ring. The aroma is roasted malt, oak and vague fruit. The taste is tart cherry initially before the roasted malt, oak, bourbon and moderate bitterness transition to punctuate the middle and finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with less than medium carbonation and a dry oaky finish. No hint of the ABV in the taste or aroma. Overall, very good. The tart cherry and stout flavor mingle well for a complex and enjoyable beer.

Nov 06, 2020
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dcotom from Iowa

4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm on record as saying that I love it when a brewer delivers on his promises. A cherry stout should be big on cherries, and this one is for sure. Vintage 2019, poured cold from a 12-ounce bottle into a Master's Reserve whiskey glass and allowed to warm to near room temperature. Deep mahogany in color, with a finger of tan head and deep ruby highlight here and there. Big aromas and flavors of tart cherry and bourbon barrel take center stage as expected, with notes of dried fruit, licorice, molasses, and char creeping in on the back end. Medium bodied for a big stout, not at all syrupy and with good carbonation. Dry finish, with a little tannic astringence. Surprisingly not a whole lot of alcohol warmth. Well balanced with nothing overpowering here, just an outstanding and dangerously drinkable big stout. Highly recommended.

May 30, 2020
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, 2019 vintage. Thanks to Brutaltruth for this brew! Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is decent, and there isn't much lacing at all. I like the aroma a lot, the brew smells like cherries, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, caramel and oak. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, with tart cherry, vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, dark bread, caramel and coffee flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and a bit coating and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. Does seem thin for a big stout, though. With all that being said, I thought it was tasty and would like to try this again sometime!

Mar 23, 2020
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 FLUID OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours super dark brown. Ruby highlights are visible when held to the light. It is topped with a feeble tan head that leaves no lacing.

The initial smell is chocolate covered cherries and vanilla. I even get a little caramel as it warms.

The taste is cherry and dark chocolate. I get a little black coffee in the finish. I get some booze.

Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. It seems thin for a barrel aged stout.

It is a good beer. I wouldn't say that it is worth the price tag. Overall it is thin for a stout and lacking in barrel character other than the boozy taste. I wouldn't buy another four pack. It is not a drain pour though. I know a lot of people on here like dumping their beers after one unsatisfactory sip. I still respect the alcohol that this beverage contains.

Feb 29, 2020
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a dark brown with light brown hues; khaki head that fades leaving decent retention and lacing. The aromas have a subtle mix of cherry, cocoa and vanilla. Subtle bourbon aromas. Malts are there. The flavors basically follow the nose. Some cherries and milk chocolate. Subtle hints of vanilla. Mild tart characteristics. There's a sweetness to it, but nothing crazy at all. The bourbon is subtle, balanced and blends well with everything. Wood and oak is noticeable. Hints of black pepper in the mix. Malts do their thing. Finishes dry. There's a subtle warmth in the finish, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied with active carbonation. It's almost watery and thin, but in a good way. It's sharp, crisp and dangerously drinkable.

This is a solid brew. The bourbon characteristics don't dominate, but they blend well with everything. Balance is the key with this one.

Feb 20, 2020
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mynie from Maryland

4.84/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottles were 5 bucks apiece in Waterloo. Nothing about the bottle's art signals fanciness, other than the price and the phrase "Bourbon Barrel" on its side.

It pours thick and dark. You have seen a stout. This one looks nice but the appearance deserves neither poetry nor any attempts toward straining out some fancy prose. It looks fine.

Smells nice. Robust, pleasantly rough. This probably would have been one of the most interesting beer aromas in 1997 or so. Today, everything is pornographic. Now, however, after a couple sniffs I realize they're pulling off some Houdini shit here and the cherry nodes are actually the roughest part of the beer, since the bourbon-aged stout-y nodes are just like vanilla and melatonin. This makes the aroma seem, at first, thinner and more accessible than it actually is. After you get hit by the ABV wallop after a sip or two, however, you learn to sniff more cautiously.

Tastes, likewise, incredibly old school but also incredibly unique. These magnificent bastards! They've actualized my sick desire of a beer I would have rated near-perfect in 2006! And it still holds up today, to those of us with less idiotic pallets. Remember: the cherries are real and they are tart and they flip the contemporary script by being the thing that smoothens out the very rough and aggressive (but pleasant) high intensity stout. Cherries up front, bit of vanilla in the middle but mostly bitter barley and some zippy hop nodes, finishing on a fireworks melange of stout and fruit.

Feb 08, 2020
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This solid little brew pours a
dark brownish black with a thin head that dissipates quickly
to a thin ring with no lacing. Nose of bourbon and subtle cherry
with some oak and astringent booze notes among some subtle oak.
Flavors lightly exceed the nose with bourbon and brown sugar with
dank oaken notes and subtle vanilla drenched in cherry notes
along with touches of cola and light char. Mouth feel is medium
full verging on full, low carbonation, and a dry finish that is
a touch thin.

Overall, a solid brew but not as good as the standard imperial
from them.


Jan 17, 2020
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours jet black with a thin, off white head that collects on outside ring of glass.
Smell of chocolate covered cherries. Plenty of sweet malt.
Sweet, tart cherries right away. Bakers chocolate and a little maple syrup. Some sweet bourbon.
Not a huge mouthfeel.

Sep 21, 2019
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YonderBrew from Ohio

3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Consumed bottle in May, 2019 with 2018 vintage notched on label. Beer was acceptable overall. Cherry flavor was faint. Considering Bell's 30th anniversary Cherry Stout as my mental baseline for cherry taste, which may be unfair comparison.

May 10, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a very dark brown/nearly black color, with a small white head, and not much lacing.

This one smells like chocolate covered cherries that are mostly chocolate, sharp oak, bourbon, and coffee.

There's not a ton of cherry here, but that's fine with me - I wouldn't want too much sweet tartness here. There's lots of barrel, mostly oak, but with some leathery and boozy bourbon too. There's some vanilla and caramel notes, and a big roasty coffee flavor as well, along with light strands of chocolate.

This is medium bodied, and pretty thin - but that's easily par for the course for Central Waters. It's drinkable despite a hint of booziness on the finish.

I almost always love stuff that comes out of Central Waters' barrel program. This is mid level for them, but still a nice little treat.

Mar 31, 2019
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The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop from Wyoming

1.9/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This really is not that good. Pours in this oddly unattractive limbo between dark brown and black with a faint head, little retention and less lacing. Aroma of NyQuil. Taste of way too much baker’s chocolate with a hint of strange sourness that was supposed to be, I presume, sweet? Feel is thin with little carbonation.

Don’t get me wrong: overall, this brewery is masterful when it comes to barrel-aged dark beers. This however was a total swing and a miss.

Mar 18, 2019
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wl2bill from Wisconsin

4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I prefer the tart cherry in this beer to the sweet cherry I have had in other beers. It does not have that cherry coolade finish. It is one of the best fruit flavored stouts I have had.

Mar 03, 2019
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 edition. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Dark, dark pour... nearly black with thin fizzy off-white head.

S: Tart cherry, vanilla, and roast.

T/F: Follows the nose. Roast up front... burned sugars and toasted grains. Mildly tart cherry mingles with the roast. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon in the background. A bit of espresso and cocoa, but the tart cherry stays in the foreground. Medium bodied... oily on the tongue. Warming.

O: A solid cherry bourbon stout. Possibly past its best at 6 years old, but still formidable.

Feb 23, 2019
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a deep black with a small, dissipating head. The aroma features rich notes of dried fig and cherry, cinnamon, and date bread. The flavor combined rich, chocolate malts with slightly sour dried cherry in a very balanced and delicate way. The mouthfeel is medium to full with patient carbonation. Overall a really excellent beer - the cherry is very present, but never dominated the stout.

Jan 08, 2019
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morimech from Minnesota

4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice cherry notes in both aroma and flavor. Central Waters is not trying to overdo it with the fruit. Not usually a fan of dark, tart beers. But with the low acidity involved here, it works for me. I would of liked more of the barrel character to come out though. With CW's issues with infections, I probably will not let a couple sit for awhile.

Dec 29, 2018
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timmy2b from New York

3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with an off white head when poured. Tart Cherry in the nose and on the tongue with a small amount of chocolate. Very thin compared to what I expect from a BBA Stout with a very minor amount of Bourbon on the end of some sips.

Dec 25, 2018
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metter98 from New York

3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brownish black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that rapidly dissipated, leaving just a minuscule collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of cherries and bourbon along with faint hints of the underlying stout.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some hints of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer is exceptionally drinkable considering its strength because it masks all of the alcohol from the taste and the mouthfeel isn't that heavy compared to other stouts.

Serving type: bottle

Dec 23, 2018
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-hr from Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The cherries give a nice lightness to the beer that makes it fairly drinkable for a heavy/imperial stout. They also add to the smell. The total blend of flavors works well, some coffee, chocolate, cream, and prominent cherries; the balance works all the way until the end - the cherries linger just a little bit too long, shifting what otherwise feels like a genuine (not syrup-like) cherry flavor to a more bitter fake cherry. Overall, no complaints though.

Dec 20, 2018
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bl00 from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, almost black shade of brown. Half finger of head dissipates quickly. Aromas of cherry and chocolate are up front, bourbon comes in after moderately. Taste is cherry, natural and tart, not artificial. Cola flavor eventually yields to notes of bourbon. Carbonation is moderate, medium mouthfeel with lingering notes of bourbon, some sour cherry. I've been turned off by artificial cherry flavors in beer before, though this one delivers with organic flavors which are balanced nicely.

Mar 18, 2018
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. 2017 vintage.
Ruby brown colored body. Light tan head settles to interrupted cap and ring. Scattered spots of lacing.
Aroma is bourbon barrel/oak, dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, and dark cherries.
Taste is quite a bit more with the tart, unsweetened cherries, dark chocolate and malt, vanilla, and bourbon barrel.
Thin to medium mouth feel, tart.
A rather rich cherry stout with barrel notes. I expected more sweetness but this one is more tart and dry. Subtle, along with the barrel notes.

Feb 13, 2018
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured near room temperature into a 16 oz Magnify Snulip, vintage 2017. Poured aggressive and got a 2 plus khaki head that settles very quickly into a thin ring of bubbles leaving little to know lace.

Smell is the highlight, char, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, Bourbon, and black cherries.

Taste follows a little more Cherry than the nose would have you expect, vanilla, cocoa, oak, Bourbon, and roasty coffee.

Mouthfeel is a little bigger than medium, plenty of life, maybe a tad dry, and goes down rather easy at 10% ABV.

Overall this is very nice, not a huge syrupy malt bomb, but a very nuanced and complex Stout, that actually surprises me how much I enjoyed it. Thanks GreenbayBA for this one.

Feb 02, 2018
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SD-Alefan from South Dakota

4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark, opaque brown with a minimal tan head.
Aroma is chocolate, roasted grain, fresh cherries and a touch of vanilla.
Tastes amazing. Cherry tartness with dark chocolate, hints of roast coffee, booze and vanilla.
Mouthfeel is medium, smooth and perhaps, a touch thin.

Nov 11, 2017
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cherry is subtle and comes through on the finish. As always the bourbon barrel notes with oak and vanilla are bold and up front. Another solid addition to the Brewers Reserve line-up.

Oct 26, 2017
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 880 ratings