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

very good
258 Reviews
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dirtylou on 03-22-2007

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Reviews: 258 | Ratings: 787
Photo of sendsilk
1.53/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Very excited to try this beer! I love. Stouts and love cherries. Upon opening this beer, the excitement comes to a screeching halt! This beer smells horrible, something is terribly wrong here. It smells very much like nail polish remover. I opened this at a tasting with 4 other friends and we concluded that the taste was almost as bad as the smell. Between the 5 of us we poured out over half of the bottle even after going back and giving it a 2nd and 3rd chance as it warmed to room temperature. I'm hoping this was just an infected bottle, nevertheless I won't be seeking this beer out again.

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Photo of AleWatcher
1.59/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

So I'll preface this review by saying:
I gave Satin Solstice a B rating... And while I haven't reviewed Bourbon Barrel Stout, I would have given it a far lower grade than B. The Brewhouse Coffee Stout didn't impress me either. Needless to say, the CW stouts I've had just haven't done it for me... I'm going into this one with low expectations.

Served in a Founders snifter.

Dark brown with rusty red hues in the legs and on the edges. Small soda-like-in-color head fizzes away pretty quickly and leaves no lacing. The head becomes a collar of loose lazy bubbles.
The nose has some sweet malts and black cherries. Some booze, but where's the bourbon character? The flavor has a decent amount chocolate malt that compliments the black cherry notes well enough-- too bad neither of those notes are enough on their own (or in conjunction) to save this beer for me. Some charred oak comes through, but still no bourbon. No vanilla either. The beer has a slick oily feel with a bit too much carbonation. It is thin and watery.

This was a $6 single from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee... Wow is that $6 I wish I could have back.

As this warms, to nearly room temp, I finally get the bourbon notes I was searching for... For some reason I keep depleting that scene from Empire;
Han- You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake, well this might be it sweetheart!"
Leia- I take it back!

The bourbon is cheap and boozy... It doesn't add to flavor any aspect tgat improves it... To the contrary, it makes the finish unpleasant. It tastes like a chocolate covered cherry cordial-- you know, the ones with cheap bourbon liquor inside.

Overall-- I'll just flat out say it: my step-dad used to drink "diet cherry chocolate soda" from a brand I can't remember. That shit was terrible. This isn't much better, in terms of feel or taste-- but at least the soda didn't hit with an unstoppable boozy note. Way too fizzy.
I'd hope aging this helps to tone down the booze, but I doubt it would help.

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Photo of cope0021
1.9/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Minimal legs - medium carbonation. Light red tint to beer.

Mix of bourbon and cherry aroma. No noticeable body

Strong bourbon taste with some tart cherry notes. Bourbon is a little overpowering. A little too tart for me.

Thin. A little too much carbonation on the tongue.

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Photo of hopsbreath
1.92/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

My main man Zimmerbloke coming through in the clutch again with a local specialty. Thanks a lot Matt! Vintage 2011.

A: Dark purple-brown, a couple fingers of tightly formed espresso head, moderate patchy lacing, looks good. 4/5

S: What the?... Bourbon barrel stout nothing. Blind-folded, I'd be hard pressed to identify this as anything other than a young kriek. Not a typical stout at all. 2/5

T: Bitter, murky, and rancid cherries are on the front of the palate and not at all pleasant. Some sour bourbon assures me that this came from a barrel but its not a good reminder. Classic impy stout tastes don't really come to mind. 2/5

M: Thin, low carbonation, and dry. Not good for what I want from a big stout. 2/5

O: Flat out one of the least enjoyable stouts I've ever had. If I ever felt like a beer deserved the lowest score here, this is the beer for it. I've had Cherry Adam so I know that cherries added to a big boozy beer in a barrel can be a wonderful thing. Made it through two ounces for the review and drain poured the rest. 1/5

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Photo of scream
2/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

First off I will say that I am not a fan of adding fruit to beers, wild yeasts etc. That being said I am a big fan of Central Waters Barrel Aged beers. I picked this up last week and was holding off on trying it. Tonight was the night. I poured about 1/2 the bottle into a CW tulip glass. A light mahogany old ale type color and one could smell the fruit. Upon drinking it I was confused-some tartness and very little stout quality to it in my opinion. Holding the glass up to the light and looking from underneath there is a patch of darker material floating in it which is like the must one finds in wines but it is strange. It does not taste off in any way, just not much going for it. Certainly the weakest of the CW barrel aged beers I have had and would not seek it out again.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.23/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by the late chswimmer (RIP, Ted).

A: Pours a clear, mahogany body with short-lived head. No lace, no collar.

S: Very tart cherries, bordering on lactic. It's roasty and chocolatey; not a particularly great combination unless the chocolate is very rich and fudge-like (think Cherry Chocolate Rain), and this beer doesn't work well with it. Bourbon is mild at best; it's very subtly integrated.

T: Sweet, tart, and lightly sour cherries make the first impression. Their skins produce a small tannic effect that pairs nicely with the chocolate. Some metallicity. Not awful, but nothing that blows me away.

M: Slightly thin feel. Carbonation is low. Sticky cherry presence.

D: Pretty disappointing. Between two people we weren't interested in finishing it, and threw out over half the bottle.

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Photo of McUbermensch
2.39/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

I must say I was not impressed with this beer in the least. It was thin and overly carbonated. There were no signs of barrel aging and the cherry flavor was sour and over powering. Maybe I had a bad bottle?

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Photo of kevanb
2.41/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Local Option stemmed glass. 2012 vintage, reviewed live.

The beer pours a cola brown color, close to black, but still definitely brown, especially when held to the light. Lots of tiny bubbles race around the glass, a thin fizzy caramel head makes a brief appearance, but recedes quickly. There is no lacing to speak of, poor head retention, and just looking at the glass, I can tell there is going to be a lot of carbonation. My first real thought was that I had just opened a can of cola. The aroma is relatively off putting, tart artificial cherry aromas, almost like a maraschino cherry, unfortunate as the bottle claims to use real cherries in the barrel. Some chocolate comes out, richness from the barrel, lacking in oak, char, roast and really anything complex or interesting, overly sweet and artificial. The flavors are poor to say the best, strong, almost overbearing artificial cherry, tootsie-roll like chocolate sweetness, again, more sugary than anything. Some bourbon does come through with some caramel, but again, it plays up the sweetness. There is no real complexity, lacking barrel character, however, the alcohol, despite the overwhelming sweetness of the beer, never really makes an appearance, for which I am grateful. The body is way too carbonated for a beer this sweet and rich, really adds no redeeming qualities to the beer. However, it does coat the mouth well, and adds a nice subtle warming as it goes down.

Verdict: This beer is a mess, artificial sweetness, overly carbonated, zero interesting barrel characteristics, really just a total fail. I had high hopes for this after sampling Peruvian Morning and a few other barrel treated beers, but this one is definitely one to avoid.

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Photo of natethamac
2.42/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Smells a bit metallic and sour. Very thin for a stout and quite high on carbonation. Taste has a slight bourbon hint with a tart/bitter/dry cherry finish. Not what I would look for in a stout and certainly not up to par with the rest of the brewer's reserve series.

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Photo of MartzMimic
2.46/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the bottle almost black with no head to speak of. The aroma is faint, but chocolate and cherries are most notable. There's nothing faint about the taste. Sour cherries and a touch of chocolate. I think there's supposed to be a bit of bourbon, but if so, it's barely noticeable. The cherries overpower everything. Medium mouth, but the carbonation probably makes it seem thinner than it actually is. The dark cherries are so unbalanced that this is barely drinkable.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.51/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a beautiful head that leaves nothing but a huge lacing behind that sticks oh so well. The head is tan and the color is dark black motor oil, hell yeah! The smell is a big hit of vanilla with a cherry flavor acompanied by what seems to be bourbon (I haven't had a lot, but it smells like good hard liquor). The taste was light and the harsh liquor flavors along with a kick of cherries wasn't a pleasant experience the first try. It's better the second try, the tart cherries leaves you weak (when mixed with roasted grains) while the strong bourbon hits the back of your throat leaving you nausious. The mouthfeel was ok, very dry and not so smooth. Overall I don't think I would have another one of these, something must be wrong.

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Photo of draheim
2.58/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle (2011; bottled December 2010) poured into a snifter. Dark brown/mahogany with a reddish tint. Plenty of light gets through around the edges. Minimal head diminishes quickly. Looks like a Cherry Coke.

Aroma is faint cherry syrup and a little oak as it warms.

Taste is a bit medicinal with a slightly sour, almost vinegary quality. Cherry is at the forefront, but this is a pretty thin stout. I think I'd like this better if the cherry played more of a supporting role rather than lead. I continue to find myself wincing with every sip, which is never a good sign.

The ABV is the only thing indicating that this is an imperial stout. Where's the deep, dark roasty malt? Where's the richness? If I didn't know any better I would have thought this was a cherry brown ale. Disappointing.

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Photo of craytonic
2.63/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours pitch black. No head. Fizzy like a cola for a minute or two.

Smell: Roasted malts, some chocolate, maybe a little cherry? No bourbon.

Taste: The cherry is so subtle... I didn't notice it. Same goes for the bourbon barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: Something weird about the carbonation.

Drinkability: Interesting to try once, but will not return. Usually I can pick up on bourbon and cherry very easily, but not in this beer. It tasted a little off, maybe my bottle went bad.

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Photo of rudzud
2.79/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a trade, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a deep brown nearly black with a nice one finger mocha head that fades to leave a dense creamy blanket with some light side lacing. Nice for the ABV.

S - Hrm, fair chocolate notes with a very very light earthy bourbon. The cherry thats there smells almost fake.

T - Another hrm. The bourbon is there subtly along with the slight toasted coconut that can sometime come with barrel aging a stout. Chocolate isnt bad but this fake cherry cough syrup taste is really killing this for me. Just tastes very artificial.

M - Mouthfeel is nice for a stout of this ABV once you get past that sticky cough syrup cherry.

O - Overall yah, the cherry kills this for me big time. This is a huge let down but I kind of knew it realistically going in that the cherry would ruin this beer.

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Photo of zeledonia
2.82/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2012 vintage. Tasted 5 December 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours nearly black, but comes through medium brown with a bit of red at the edges. Half-finger of medium-light tan head, disappears quickly, leaving a ring and almost no lacing.

Smell is smooth bourbon, backed by cherry sweetness. It's a delicate, soft-edged bourbon, without any sharpness. The cherry is faint, maybe 25%, but presents more as it warms up.

Taste is unbalanced and two-toned - a rough bourbon-cherry blend, followed by a lull, then an unpleasant bitter punch. The first wave is decent, but it's short-lived, and the second wave brings removes all of that. It's like all the badness, the harshness, and the ugly bitterness all got rolled into that one part of the taste. There's more of it than I'd want in the entire beer, and concentrated as it is, it's pretty unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is fine. Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation. No issues (and considering the way-too-light body of many CW stouts, that's good). Lasting.

I've generally been disappointed with Central Waters stouts. This one doesn't have the same problem (thinness), but the flavor is problematic. Not terrible, but not what I'd call good, and not something I'll plan on buying again.

 1,231 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured out as a cola like black color with a tan head that has no retention or lacing was basically nowhere. The smell of beer is a bit medicinal, cherry and some additional sweetness. The taste of the beer isn't really the greatest, artificial cherry flavors some vanilla and roasted malts. Just didn't really feel the flavors I was hoping for. The mouthfeel is soda-like, light bodied with a sharp carbonation. Overall I had much higher hopes for this beer. Wasn't impressed.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Man this is one unique beer, and i was about to score it around a D+, but it is unique and still somehow interesting enough that i'll give it an average.

Honestly i was expecting a very faint cherry presence like most stouts have when it comes to added items since the malts cover alot up well, but man this thing packs a punch with dark and sour/tart cherries! It's like tart cherries covered in dark chocolate as the malts are about the only thing else that can be noticed in such an up front beer.

Interesting, and i may not mind having another bottle someday, just to explore it more, but its not thing i would buy alot of.


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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: pours very thin for a Ba stout, looks like a red ale pouring.
S: slight tart fruit, tobacco, barrel
T: omg....very tart cherries, and no barrel. This does not taste like a stout.
F: thin and puckering
O: bad

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Photo of TATURBO
3.01/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2012 Version.
A: Brown with a minimal amount of head.

S: Slight sour cherry. Not picking up much else.

T: Light on the stout for sure. Dark Cherry flavor abound.

M: Pretty light overall for style. Definitely so for a BB Stout.

O: Mediocre. Glad I got a sample before buying. This is a style I'd jump on and get some quantity of if done right but this seriously left me disappointed. I love the regular BB Stout but the Cherry version just doesn't have it going on. I love most all of CW's Barrel aged stuff, Sadly not this one. If the recipe could be tweaked, I'd be all for it as with their other Barrel offerings, It could be great!

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Photo of beagle75
3.02/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium brown color with a fine peripheral ring of off-white bubbles. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Clean roasty grain, savory, with some over-ripe cherry fruit but no detectable spirit.

T: Begins sweet, with intermediate roasted malt and mild dark fruit that vanishes behind aggressive carbonic acidity. Fruit returns in the middle, but never reaches a defining intensity. Minimal bourbon presence defines the otherwise earthy, if bland, finish. Booziness lingers on the palate late, becoming more pronounced as the beer warms.

M: Medium viscosity, wet and evaporative on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This beer struggles as a stout, although it hides the 10% abv to a surprising extent. Practically every quality seems understated or absent, from the fruit to the spirit to the grain. The drying texture is the bravest expression of actual alcohol presence, and even that seems tangential.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Poured into a snifter.

A: A nondescript dark brown with a small head that fades in the blink of an eye.

S: Cherry skins, chocolate, oak, vanilla, light booze, and light bourbon. Cherry presence is moderately lactic, and is pretty strong. Smells nice with the chocolate and light bourbon. The bourbon is very faint, like it spent a day in the same room as a bourbon barrel.

T: Lightly sweet and sour, with notes of cherry skins, oak, faint bourbon, and chocolate. The finish is cherry and chocolate with some metallic notes. A bit muddled, on the whole. Drying oak finish.

M: Lower full bodied with upper low carbonation. Smooth, sticky, and slightly thin mouthfeel.

Overall: Underwhelming. The cherries started to wear on me after a bit. Not a drain pour in the traditional sense, but I had no desire to finish the bottle. Wouldn't revisit.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter

A - First thing I noticed was how thin it was for an imperial stout. Black for the most part, but kind of a ruby red on the edges when tilted up to the light. Had little head and more carbonation than expected. Almost like flat coca-cola.

S - Definitely cherries. Oak is also big. Bourbon isn't a sweet smell and it's masked by the cherries.

T - Kind of a sticky cherry sweetness. Cloying bourbon.

M - Fizzy and carbonated. Not very thick or fluffy.

O - The cherry is the dominant flavor instead of blending with the bourbon barrel stout components. It's drinkable, but not something I'd seek out.

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Photo of Overlord
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a brownish colored light red. Big thanks to Tpatuto. Small crust of light brown foam.

Strangely pungent smell. Kind of like pulped cherry pits mixed with cherry skins and a bit of ... prunes and plums? Interesting. Almost no stout characteristics to aroma.

Taste has a slightly chocolately malt and cherry backing, along with that weird woodsy pungent cherry pit/tart cherry flavor. Frankly: strange.

Mouthfeel a bit flat and watery. Half a glass was enough.

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Photo of semibaked
3.07/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet.

A - Pours almost black with some dark red hues shining through, very little head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon, A little smokey, roasted malts, coffee, and the slightest hint of cherry.

T - Bourbon hits you upfront, the cherry flavor has the taste of cough syrup, smokiness, and a hint of coffee.

M - Disappointing light body, this should have a fuller mouthfeel to it for being a stout and has a good amount of carbonation.

D - Ya not a big fan of this, it is heavy on the bourbon and the cherry flavor is not pleasant. The mouthfeel is just off to me too, definitely like the regular version of this much better.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.1/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle courtesy of FrankenBrew, this is the 2010 vintage. Lets see how 2.5 years in the cellar has done...pours a dark crimson color with a small, fast fading tan head. No lacing.

Oxidized malt is supported well by a rich, dark cherry aroma. Plenty of bourbon-soaked wood still in there. Smells big, boozy and rich.

The stout portion of the beer is not as sweet and chocolaty as it needs to be to support the fruit and alcohol. It is still hot, surprisingly and the bourbon still bold. The body feels thin, maybe partly because of the tart fruit...but I think mostly due to a lack of sweetness. Im not a big fan of this one, it was fun to try though!

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
3.76 out of 5 based on 787 ratings.
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